The Alpha Course can be found in 169 countries with nearly 19 million people having attended over the years. It is advertised as a non-threatening, non-confrontational approach to evangelism. Alpha swept across the UK with great fervor years ago and continues to gain popularity worldwide. It is not without its critics, however, as CRN has demonstrated in the articles, “The Alpha Course Receives Praise from Moody Radio’s Janet Parshall,” and “The Ecumenical Compromise of The Alpha Course.”
In a recent teleconference with leaders of The Alpha Course entitled, “Handling the Healing Night,” Jeff Kirby, who is a Teaching Pastor at Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas and who has been involved with Alpha as a leader for 17 years, discussed the nuances of and offered advice for the Alpha Course Healing Night. This event typically occurs during Alpha’s Holy Spirit Weekend, and apparently at times brings with it questions and even anxiety from leaders and participants alike.
Below is a brief clip of the first five minutes of this teleconference. Though short, these few minutes provide insight into some of the teachings that are influencing the Alpha Course and its leader, Nicky Gumbel.
There is one particular aspect of this clip that serves the interests of this article. Namely, that of the book and author recommendations offered by Pastor Kirby. Since these books and their authors appear to be of great importance in the minds of Alpha’s leaders, it behooves the discerning Christian to learn more about these men and to examine their teachings. This article will look at two names in particular, the two that were most stressed by Mr. Kirby: Morton Kelsey and John Wimber.