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Title: Inside Alpha: Explorations in Evangelism
Author: Heard, James
Publisher: Wipf and Stock; Publication Date: 2012
Paperback; ISBN: 9781608994502
Volumes: 1; Pages: 286
List Price in Paper: $33.00 Our price: $27.99
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UK church attendance hemorrhaging and one course is hailed as the most effective tool for "turning back the tide." From small beginnings in the early 1970s, Alpha has grown to become a global success. Churches from across the denominational spectrum have enthusiastically seized upon the course, seeing it as the remedy for declining church attendance.Inside Alpha explores such claims through richly grounded qualitative research on six Alpha courses. It assesses Alpha's primary aim of converting non-churchgoers and its longer-term goal of spiritual maturity (Colossians 1:28-29). It questions whether the Alpha program is as successful as it claims at uniting evangelism and discipleship, mission and spiritual formation. This is an invaluable study for those--in the academy and the church--who have an interest in ecclesiology and mission. How exactly is one to understand conversion? What is it to "be Christian"? How does ambiguity and doubt fit within one's journey of faith? The importance of this work is in discovering--through an engagement with Alpha--how people might appropriately be initiated into and discipled within the Christian faith in contemporary culture.