Among Christians Alpha has earned a rapidly spreading reputation based on its effectiveness.
On 24th May 2001 at All Soul’s Church, Langham Place, a new evangelistic course called Christianity Explored was launched. Adapting and expanding an earlier course run at All Soul’s called Christianity Explained, Rico Tice has largely devised the new ten-week course. No doubt some within the evangelical world wondered why a new course was needed. After all, wasn’t the Alpha course originating from that other leading London church, Holy Trinity Brompton, clearly the most effective evangelistic course in the country?
In the promotion literature, Christianity Explored acknowledges its indebtedness to Alpha praising its ‘excellent relational methodology’. However at the same time it makes clear that there are two clear distinctives, which make Christianity Explored quite different from Alpha. The first is the fact that it seeks to teach Mark’s gospel. The second is that it seeks to teach the wonder of God’s grace against the background of our sin and God’s judgment. Thus to many minds, Christianity Explored is designed to be a viable and more Biblical alternative to Alpha, despite the promotion literature insisting that ‘the two courses compliment each other’. In this article we seek to examine both courses in the light of Scripture. After Paul and Silas had preached in the Jewish Synagogue we are told that the Bereans ‘…examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true’ and they are commended for this practice (Acts 17:11). If the Bereans examined even the apostle’s teaching, how much more should we examine contemporary teaching?