Inside Alpha

Explorations in Evangelism

By James Heard

Foreword by Andrew G. Walker

Inside Alpha

paperback-logo

  • ISBN: 9781608994502
  • Pages: 286
  • Publication Date: 6/1/2012
  • Retail Price: $35.00
Web Price: $28.00
Web Price: $28.00

Inside Alpha

Explorations in Evangelism

By James Heard

Foreword by Andrew G. Walker

paperback-logo

PAPERBACK

  • ISBN: 9781608994502
  • Pages: 286
  • Publication Date: 6/1/2012
  • Retail Price: $35.00
Web Price: $28.00

About-

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.

Endorsements & Reviews-

'The hugely successful Alpha Course has been given serious academic scrutiny in this valuable study. Both extensive fieldwork and long-term historical perspectives on Christian discipleship inform James Heard's scholarly work.'
-- William K. Kay, Director of the Center for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies, Bangor University

'The first really systematic assessment of all dimensions of the Alpha Course, this book combines an ethnographic study with rigorous theological analysis to develop an innovative and important contribution to practical theology. I highly recommend it not only to those interested in the Alpha Course, the sociology of conversion and the theology of catechesis, but also as an in-depth case study in what "ecclesial ethnography" involves.'
-- Luker Bretherton, Senior Lecturer in Theology and Politics, King's College, London

'James Heard's book offers us an exemplary analysis as well as fair-minded critique of the Alpha Course. It provides a clear and very accessible guide to its strengths and weaknesses.'
-- David Martin, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Fellow of the British Academy.

Contributors-

James Heard
Andrew G. Walker

Bio(s)-

James Heard has worked with Operation Mobilization in the Indian sub-continent, and at Holy Trinity Brompton. He trained for the Anglican priesthood at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and is now Associate Vicar of St. Luke's and Christ Church, Chelsea.

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