The Alpha Course
Course is an introductory course in Christian belief and teaching,
conducted by the Church of Englandís Nicky Gumbel at Holy Trinity Brompton
in London. It is a series of meetings and discussions for new people who
want to know more about the relevance of the Christian faith in our times.
It has proved very popular. A dream reveals what God thinks of it.
"I have a few things
against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam,
who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to
eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you
also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I
hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them
with the sword of My mouth" (Rev 2:14-16, NKJV).
"I have this against
you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her
teaching she misleads My servants into sexual immorality and the eating of
food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality,
but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering and I will
make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent
of her ways. I will strike her children dead" (Rev 2:20-23, NIV).
material was formerly included in MM Newsletter 16, Dec 2001)
August 2001 I received an appalling dream. This dream was horrible in its
subject. It was meant to shock. If it shocks you, Iím sorry, but God gave
it, so we should carefully consider what He wants to convey through it. Here
is that dream and its meaning:
I knew that a particular person had been masturbating in his sleep. He was
challenged about this by someone else, but his response was to excuse
himself because he had done it without knowing, in his sleep.
was given on 6th August, the night following an airing of a programme about
the Alpha Course on Londonís ITV. As I considered what the dream
meant, God revealed that it was to do with Alpha.
It is an allegory of how vile to God peopleís self-will is and how people
will casually dismiss sin without considering Godís view of it. This is a
reflection of something deeply wrong with the Alpha Course, which most will
not perceive. For this reason God reveals the evil spirit behind this
Masturbation is self-willed sexual stimulation. It is practiced for entirely
selfish reasons Ė to please the self Ė to get sensual, sexual gratification.
It is a sin. Any sexual activity outside of marriage is sin. The only sexual
activity God sanctions is loving sexual union between a husband and wife in
the sanctity of their own marital union.
uses sexual metaphors to portray how vile sins are. Jesus reproves the
Church in Pergamos and Thyatira for their tolerance of false doctrines,
which He likens to participation in sexual immorality (Rev 2:14, 20). The
imagery is deliberately shocking, to try to awaken people to the serious and
despicable nature of false teachings, which defile Christians spiritually.
to use similar imagery, to try and awaken any who will listen, to the
serious nature of what underlies the teaching of this very popular Christian
metaphor which God provides in the dream should also alert you to its
gravity Ė sleep.
is asleep spiritually. That means it is unaware of spiritual realities. It
is asleep to the truths it needs to accept, and in this sleep it is
preoccupied with sensual gratification and self-indulgence.
to Ďaccept Christí for selfish reasons but that is as despicable as someone
masturbating to get selfish sexual pleasure. It is repulsively perverse.
As I said,
this dream was given after part of the Alpha Course was shown on
television the night before. As an introductory course, the Alpha Course
has been very successful in bringing believers into the Church of England.
success is not an effective measure of its spiritual value.
you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated
the false prophets (Luke 6:26, NIV).
is essentially an effort in humanistic appeal to bring people to Christ.
Instead of beginning to tell people to repent and to keep the commandments,
which was where Jesus started when He preached the gospel (Matt 4:17),
Gumbelís approach (and those who assist him in his efforts) is to please and
entertain his audience until they find something from his rendition of the
gospel that pleases them! It is an exercise in manipulation, slick
salesmanship, and seduction.
Meetings start with a nice meal and a social gathering, which is appealing
and may on occasion not be wrong. But how much are people attracted by the
physical, and view the spiritual in the light of this seductive physical
emphasis? Quite a lot!
sessions end in small group discussions where each personís opinion is
given respectability on a par with any biblical appraisal. Does such an
approach elevate biblical revelation above human rationalism, empiricism and
material pragmatism? Hardly!
is displeasing to God because of its subtly wrong emphasis. Nicky Gumbel was
challenged about it in April 2000. I wrote three letters to him, but he
preferred to excuse himself, just as the dream conveyed.