We’re discussing The Alpha Series, an ecumenical attempt to unify denominations in an effort to tell people about Jesus. The last two posts show that contrary to what might be a common perception, neither Jesus nor the Apostles softened any of their doctrine with anyone. Why should they? They were speaking truth. To compromise truth is to lie, and God never lies. He cannot (Numbers 23:19).
My assertion is that both the Anglican and Catholic churches are false teachers and should be treated as such. The Anglican, including the American Episcopal Church, has lots of problems right from the very beginning, but look at the fruit of the church today and judge for yourself. Episcopalians are at the front of the liberal-thinking pack, promoting sexual deviancy like no other denomination including homosexuality, gender-fluidity, divorce, and, of course, abortion. The name Jesus is also on the way out as there are now bishops – elected to office for life! – who are avowed ATHEISTS! Yes, that’s right, atheists. It is common to hear from the pulpit, “It doesn’t matter WHO you pray to, as long as you pray.” May God have mercy on them.
As far as Catholicism goes, well, let’s just say that they have big, big problems with being a works-based religion. They also openly worship other gods besides the true God in their reverence and petition of Mary. They steal the glory of Jesus and ascribe it to men and false gods. May God have mercy on them as well.
But what about the dude who put together the Alpha Series, Nicky Gumbel? Certainly, he speaks a tune completely different than what would hear in the Anglican pews. In fact, it seems to me this guy’s story is one of repentance and rebirth, what Jesus described to Nicodemus in John 3. That would make him one of God’s children.
That may be so, but there are significant problems with his theology, for example, that all people are children of God. He also is embedded deep inside the Anglican church, a false religion. If the Holy Spirit is indeed living inside of Nicky, He is speaking to him about these things. The fact that Nicky remains is troubling, indeed.
There are three more things that I observed that are worth mentioning. First, the concept of heaven and hell are almost completely absent from the teaching. In fact, if my memory is correct, it was well into the series before the words were even mentioned. Certainly, neither was given the attention we see Jesus giving these two topics.
Second, I see a prosperity-gospel message being delivered in that God will make this life so much better for you if only you will decide to follow Jesus and love like he does. It’s primarily benefit-focused, not worship God-for-God’s-sake focused. I suppose this is natural given that heaven and hell are excluded from the conversation. If nothing else, it is a partial presentation of the gospel, and that is a huge no-no. Even if what is revealed is true (which in this case is not entirely so), but significant parts are deliberately excluded, you then step into false teaching. Big problem.
Third, I see more emphasis placed on “Alpha” than I do the bible. From what I see, it’s almost as if the program has become an idol. The word “Alpha” is used over and over, continually, yet we see very little in terms of actual scripture used.
Can God save people using this program? Certainly. I was holding the book “Alcoholics Anonymous” in my hands when Jesus saved me. Yet, God did not leave me to attend AA meetings. He stirred in me such a huge desire for the truth that I found in scripture – all scripture points to Jesus – that I could no longer participate in something that led others astray.
While I can’t deny that many have been saved while attending Alpha, I can’t help but think that there are more problems with the teaching than are worth dealing with. I believe there are better tools for evangelizing.
Let’s not forget the story of the demon-possessed man. Did Jesus send him away with a “program”?
Luke 8:38-39 38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.
This guy had only his story, and that was good enough to start with.
Father, the five Solas make sense to me. Scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone, Jesus alone, for God’s glory alone. Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers