When I came across a tweet including a picture of my pastor attending the recent Alpha Leadership conference in England, I was intrigued. I had never heard of Alpha, so I did some research. My concern deepened as I uncovered the focus of this conference. Unity. Ecumenical unity with the Catholic Church. The choice of speakers confirmed my concern: Father Raniero Cantalamessa, (Preacher to the papal household), Joyce Meyer, Archbishop Justin Welby, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols. Here is the link to all of their talks: https://lc17.alpha.org/2015-talks.
Nicky Gumbel, pioneer of the Alpha Course, vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton Church, (an Anglian church in London), opened the Leadership Conference with a speech titled, “A Vision for a United Church.” His main point was that we should look to the trinity as the model of unity, for they are each a part of one body, and are unified. Here are some concerning quotes from this address:
– “This crisis is a massive opportunity for the church to stand together and fight together.”
-“Ultimately, unity is not doctrinal, it’s relational.”
– “Unity is not an option—Jesus is still praying for our unity—so that the world will be one.”
– “Unity doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything—disagreement is healthy.”
– “I used to think if some part of the church is different from me, they must be wrong. Now I think, ‘wow, they’re different from me, I must have so much to learn from them!’”
-” I have come to love the Catholic Church—If God has given them the same Spirit, who are we to oppose God?”
– “The same Spirit lives in the Catholics, and the Orthodox, and the Pentecostals and the Protestants, even the Anglicans have the same Holy Spirit living within them. That’s what makes us one!”
– “Unity doesn’t mean we’re not interested in the truth! The only way to get truth is through unity!”
– “We live in a divided world that demands a united church.”
– “Root of all problems in the world is division. Paul gives us the answer to this—it’s in relationships!”
– “The Incarnation demands a visible expression of the invisible church. We may not get this in our lifetime, but we can have signs of it. I believe this conference is a visible sign of our invisible unity.”
I’m attaching my full notes on Gumbel’s 32 minute opening address. Will be taking notes on the other talks in the next few weeks and can send them to you if you’re interested.
Hope this helps-
Lighthouse Trails Research on the Alpha Course
The Gospel According to Alpha by Cecil Andrews (Take Heed Ministries)
The Dangers of the Alpha Course by Deception in the Church
Alpha Course Added to Spiritual Formation List
Keen to learn and. Understand the times we are in.
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