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Alpha Course : is it a cult?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by speakout, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. speakout

    speakout New Member

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    I had experiences on that course but I now see it was a dangerous cult.

    What do you make of it?
     
  2. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    What makes you say that?
     
  3. tadoflamb

    tadoflamb Stop plate techtonics

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    When I moved into my new home shortly after being confirmed Catholic my new Lutheran neighbor boldly came over to my house and invited me to join her church's Alpha course. While I could never recommend the Alpha course to anyone, it being a protestant entity with protestant teachings I would be loathe to call it a cult. My main gripe with the Alpha course, aside from it being adverse to Catholic teaching is the fact that it's a copywrited program which cost's money to any denomination that decides to offer it. In other words, it's just another money making program invented by some well-intentioned protestsant.
     
  4. wayseer

    wayseer New Member

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    I have no experience with the Alpha course other than hearing about it in conversation. But I think you make a valid point concerning extra 'add-ons' that seem to be proliferating. Our church is considering something call National Church Development.

    I think it all stems from the belief that if you are spending money it must be good for you.
     
  5. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    I don't think Holy Trinity Brompton make a fortune out of it, and if they do it will be ploughed back into ministries, not just making Nicky Gumbel rich.

    A lot of Catholic material is also copyright and and costs money.

    We don't use alpha, but we do use courses from elsewhere, most notably All Soul's Langham Place, and they are generally fair value for money.
     
  6. Secundulus

    Secundulus New Member

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    We used it at our Church last year. I thought it was a good course that we used to generate moderated discussion after each session. With a knowledgable discussion leader, this is a good course for Protestants and Catholics alike. In a sense, it is kind of like C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity.
     
  7. tadoflamb

    tadoflamb Stop plate techtonics

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    It's been seven years since I've made my brief investigation into the Alpha course including a attempted look into the class materials and just exactly what it was I was getting myself into. What I found was a brief overview of the class and anything more would have cost me cash.

    Admittedly, I was new to Christianity and the Catholic Church, but my experience with the Catholic Church (and remains to this day) access to the fullness of the teachings of the faith is available to anyone, FOC.

    My first bible was given to me by my priest. My first Catholic resource We Believe... came mailed to my door FOC. The Catechism can be found online in it's entirety FOC.

    This is why we believe scripture when it says, "Freely you received, freely you will give."

    If the information in Alpha course were so essential to knowing the Christian faith (that's what it was set up for, to gain converts) then shouldn't it be offered at no cost?

    This seems to be another reoccurance of the protestant phenonema of 'doing well by doing good'. I'm coming up against it more and more frequently.
     
  8. tadoflamb

    tadoflamb Stop plate techtonics

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    Do they have a Catholic version now, because my take on Alpha seven years ago was if a Catholic happened to enroll in it they were in for a very rough time.
     
  9. Willtor

    Willtor Not just any Willtor... The Mighty Willtor

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    My wife and I did an Alpha marriage course. It was good and I'd recommend it to any married couple. We also did an Engaged Encounter (a requirement of my priest who married us). It was pretty similar stuff -- albeit for different stages of relationship. I don't think Catholic/Protestant enters into it.
     
  10. Secundulus

    Secundulus New Member

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    It doesn't get into doctrine that far. It is mostly about teaching who Jeaus is and why one should believe in and follow him. Those parts that a Catholic might feel are incompletely addressed are easily handled in the discussion that follows.

    I got to lead the discussion on the session that spoke about the Church. What he taught was not wrong but was incomplete on the subject of Christian unity. So, we filled in the blanks at the end.

    It was a good course and worth the money. The average person in the parish will learn something.
     
  11. Secundulus

    Secundulus New Member

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    The only problem with the course is that Fr. Gimbal is from England and speaks a strange dialect of English that is hard for south Georgia ears to understand.;)

    Seriously, he is a very good speaker and the DVD has subtitles.
     
  12. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    Somebody paid for all that stuff.

    Now, if a parish is offering a course to 'seeker's' I would hope that, if at all possible, that would be paid for by the parish - certainly we wouldn't charge such people to do Christianity Explored.

    But someone, somewhere, has to pay for the development of materials, production, training, whatever. Alpha is produced by a single English CofE Parish - even a large, relatively wealthy parish like HTB can't bankroll a global course.
     
  13. tadoflamb

    tadoflamb Stop plate techtonics

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    Right. Me. :cool:

    My point is the entirety of the Catholic faith is right at my fingertips with no credit card number required.

    Generally, my experience with Catholicism and parish level education is that it's offered for free. Naturally, we already own everything through the envelope system. Every now and then a small fee for course materials might be asked, but if you can't afford it, you're not required to pay.
     
  14. Willtor

    Willtor Not just any Willtor... The Mighty Willtor

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    I paid for our Engaged Encounter course. That was a Catholic course. Now, we might have found a way if we hadn't been able to pay, but I wonder if you could have worked something out with the Alpha ministry if you couldn't afford to pay? (I actually don't know the answer to either question)
     
  15. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    And there is no reason why a parish shouldn't offer Alpha for free if it's willing to pay for it through its general funds.
     
  16. tadoflamb

    tadoflamb Stop plate techtonics

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    You're absolutely correct. I believe the only thing the Alpha course I was invited to was a small amount to cover the price of a simple pasta dinner.

    My complaint was, as a new Christian, I couldn't preview the materials without enrolling in the course. It made Christianity seem like good business and it was foreign to my short experience investigating the Catholic Church.

    However, knowing it's a product of the CofE has lessened my anxieties. :)
     
  17. Secundulus

    Secundulus New Member

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    That's how we did it.
     
  18. Emmy

    Emmy Senior Veteran

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    Dear speakout. The Alpha-Courses are good signposts to the Lord. They are helpful and much liked. The money they take will go to worth-while causes. I can`t resist saying this, speakout, the moneys go toward spreading God`s Word to us, and also helping to show God`s love to man, and that is often questioned. Yet when some foot-ball personality earns £ 60000000 (Million), nobody seems to think it strange. I say this with love. Greetings from Emmy, sister in Christ.
     
  19. LiturgyInDMinor

    LiturgyInDMinor Celtic Rite Old Catholic Church

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    It's a cult.



    Nah just kidding.
    Just another Church program for laity to learn something. ;)
     
  20. tadoflamb

    tadoflamb Stop plate techtonics

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    You mean the 'great unwashed'? ;)