What is the Alpha course? Is it really just a successful witness to new believers and to those 'seeking' the truth of God's word? Sadly, it is just another deception issued by charismatics.
The Toronto Blessing
The Alpha course coincides with the Toronto Blessing (TB). Leaders of the TB try to get rid of the name: they prefer it to be called a
‘movement of the Holy Spirit’. But the Holy Spirit would not teach anything that is against scripture, God's word. The TB actively opposes scripture, which is why we warn against it.
The aim of the Alpha course is to introduce people to the charismatic scene. Whether or not they experience tongues or some other TB style manifestations does not really matter. What matters is that the 'seeker' has been brought under charismatic teaching. He or she might not attend a charismatic church straight away, but the seed has been planted! The course is another arm of charismatic error.
The Toronto Blessing is a completely charismatic phenomenon. The Alpha course is rooted in the charismatic movement. That is why both should be treated with great suspicion and caution.
Everything about the Toronto Blessing (and therefore, about charismatic teaching) is suspect. Its preaching about how men might know God is seriously flawed: it teaches that
choose to be Christians (be 'saved'). But this is a lie.
God chooses who will be saved: we cannot choose to be saved!
The 'knock-on' effect is extremely serious, for if all those thousands who enter charismatic churches
think they have been saved by
'choosing' Christ, they are deluded. It means that someone who is
'saved' by this human method is NOT SAVED AT ALL. If
'chosen' Christ in this way, no doubt you will be angry and upset, or even worried. I do not want to upset anyone, but I would prefer to upset you than to let you think you are genuinely saved. Doubts are widespread in charismatic churches, but no-one talks about them, because people are afraid of being singled-out and told they are led by Satan!
Be assured: MANY charismatics in your
area or church are afraid, but they will not tell you, or their pastor.
The gifts in charismatic churches are not real, either, but are frauds. This does not mean people are
deliberately lying, but they
are lying nevertheless. What happens in TB-style meetings is all a deception. Every bit of it. None of it is of God, and I do not care who tells you otherwise. Even the supposed 'fruit' are not according to God's word!
Is it any wonder, then, that we seriously and continuously oppose the TB? Is it also any wonder, that if the TB and charismatic teachings are all unscriptural and unholy, then we should also question the Alpha course, which aims to draw you into the charismatic net? If you prefer to stay in spiritual darkness, that is up to you. But, if you want the Truth, we know you will turn away from the heresy of the TB and charismaticism. Want true doctrine? Then try the
Bible, not charismatic preaching.
There IS a
real joy, a
real peace, a
real gifts, and
real fruit. But, you will NOT find them in the charismatic churches today. You will find them where they have
always been: in God's word, scripture. That is where you will find true doctrine and how to be saved! If you are a charismatic now, then God is commanding you to leave your charismatic church to find another, faithful church.
The Alpha Course Itself
Surely the course is good, because it attempts to get people interested in the Church and in God's word? Well, it certainly
sounds good. That is what makes it so subtle and evil!
The course was devised by Holy Trinity church, Brompton - one of the first churches to spread the TB in the UK. That immediately makes the course suspicious. The course is being used by ever increasing numbers, by all kinds of churches. But, if a pastor has to use someone else's work, then he is either not called of God to be a pastor, or he does not know his doctrine! When a man is truly called to be a pastor, God will gift him and guide him along the way he ought to go, and he will be able to teach others, without resort to ready-made spiritual meals!
The course is supposed to be an introduction to the Christian faith, so it ought to concentrate on salvation. However, the course only devotes the first two units to this. The rest are concerned with how to live the Christian life -
according to charismatic teaching and not according to scripture!
God calls those who are lost. But, the course teaches that
we go and
find God! The total opposite. The course is said to be for those who are 'interested in the Church'. That is Biblical nonsense: evangelism preaches God's message of salvation to those who are 'dead in their sins'. God 'quickens' (makes alive) those who will be saved, and
then they respond... NOT to the 'Church', but to God Himself! Once saved, a person
automatically becomes part of the Church, so the stated aim of the Course is meaningless.
The worst feature of the course is given in one of its principles:
"Evangelism is integrally related to the supernatural display of the power of the Holy Spirit." Or, to put it in plain language, the course leads a person toward the objective of experiencing 'manifestations' and 'gifts' , etc. That is, TB-style! The 'Holy Spirit' part does NOT refer to salvation and the power of God to save, but to the TB-style manifestations that have so torn-apart churches already!
In one section of the course, a leader is instructed thus:
"Encourage the person to start to speak in another language - tell him/her you will do so yourself." This is part of the section on
'How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?' The very question shows that the leaders do not know what they are talking about.
A person receives the Holy Spirit the moment he or she is saved. And the Holy Spirit remains with that person all through life.
Conversely, this course (and charismatic teaching in general) says that you must do this or that
extra to salvation, and through charismatic churches, in order to get 'it' (the Holy Spirit). All of this is sheer bunkum! And as for getting someone to speak in other languages (tongues) - that is also nonsense.
The gift of tongues is the ability to speak a foreign language (known to men)
as and when it is required. It is NOT given as a proof of salvation, or as a sign that the Holy Spirit has now entered a person. It is just one of many gifts, and it is the
least of the gifts according to scripture.
Very few Christians ever have the gift of tongues nowadays, simply because it is so rarely needed.
There are countless cases of so-called 'tongues' actually being curses from demons! In Rodney Howard Browne TB meetings, foreigners in the audience are often shocked to hear people speaking voodoo magic prayers! The tongues-speakers thought they were speaking to God in an heavenly language. This method of 'getting tongues' is psychological or demonic, not Biblical. It is like kids who pretend to chat in a foreign language, and just as silly. It also opens the person up to being invaded, or used, by demons.
The course concentrates more on lifestyle than on the gospel. But, scripture teaches that salvation comes through hearing the gospel, not by 'pleasure' stories about how to 'get' the Holy Spirit, etc., and 'how to' heal, speak in tongues, and so on. All of this stuff means nothing to non-Christians. There is far more to the Gospel than just telling people how Christians live! A person has to be 'convicted' of his own sin and sinful nature. He has to repent and turn to God. This cannot be done in two chatty general meetings. Nor can he be 'taught' how to be saved.
Overall, then, the course is NOT true doctrine. Teaching doctrine can be very heavy indeed, but rewarding. It leads to light and Truth, because it IS light and Truth. But the Alpha course is just an excuse to get people hooked on charismatic teaching and its many heresies.
© February 1996
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
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