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Unofficial Guide: World
superb resource ... highly readable ... an immensely important book -
one which I thoroughly commend"
~ Doug Harris, Director of Reachout Trust
How to order
Unofficial Guide: World is
available direct from St Matthew Publishing Ltd
(SMP) and can be ordered by phone (+44 1480 399098), email or letter
(SMP Ltd., 1 Barnfield, Common Lane, Hemingford Abbots,
Cambridgeshire, PE28 9AX,
(The sister volume Alpha - the Unofficial Guide: Church can also be ordered from SMP at the address given above)
From the back cover of the book:
Alpha is a unique tool that has become an international sensation. This fact-filled guide is the perfect complement to the official material and will be an invaluable source of information for those of us with any interest in the Course (including past attendees!).
All sorts of tough questions can get asked on Alpha. With this handbook the answers are at our fingertips and are covered in a fresh, biblical, and thoroughly gracious way. Additionally, the authors go behind the scenes to reveal many extraordinary insights and little-known gems about the Course.
Skilfully written for use by all, Alpha - the Unofficial Guide: World is the result of years of research and is especially vital for folk linked to churches that have deployed any Alpha product. The authors are long-standing experts on Alpha (plus its related publications) and share tremendous wisdom and advice regarding the Course, as well as offering striking new perspectives on it. (Please also see the brief 'Introduction' page.)
Everyone seeking the Truth - including those who have decided against taking up Alpha - should find this manual surprisingly relevant and advantageous.
What is Alpha? Alpha is billed as a practical introduction to the Christian faith. It usually comprises a series of fifteen talks, plus some ministry times, and typically takes place over ten weeks including a day or weekend retreat. Each talk is generally preceded by a meal and is followed by a small group session where questions raised by the talks can be freely discussed. It is now used in the overwhelming proportion of the worlds nations.
The Alpha Course is a favourite method by which we can introduce the unsaved to the Christian Church - and it is having a global impact. The unprecedented popularity of the Course has resulted in its authors receiving praise from almost every quarter. Of more importance though, Alpha has directly led to the growth in size of many Fellowships. These are phenomenal and incontrovertible facts. People today are dying (literally) to hear the truth and to know what the Bible has to say. Sound and well-written evangelistic material is therefore always a priceless gift to a confused world.
This book is multi-purpose and should be a considerable asset to all believers, especially those concerned with Alpha in any way. (That includes Course helpers and participants.) Among its aims, the book has been designed to furnish readers with just about everything they need in order to gain, and bring others to, a significantly deeper knowledge of the truth. It explains and enlarges on the main teachings of Alpha, and we believe it provides robust tips for everyone involved in running Courses.
For those churches that have so far chosen not to use Alpha, this book should help them to be better informed about the subject. Some folk have charged the Course with compromising over vital issues. We want to give the truth of the matter. Some have claimed that Alpha misleads people on pivotal aspects of the Christian life. This is a grave accusation, and it is an objective of this book to settle the issue. Where any potential ambiguity is apparent within the Course, we have endeavoured to deal with it so that misinterpretations can be avoided.
Regardless of the level of the readers association with the Alpha Course, from onlooker to veteran leader, all should find the material seriously informative and interesting. We are confident that anyone who intends to oversee future courses will find that this book plays a critical role in achieving Gods very best and that the commentary enables past attendees to fully grasp what they have been through.
We have sought to make the content as readable and accessible as possible. For example, we have been able to quote many high-quality sources and even the most advanced material will normally start from first principles. Another feature of the book reflects the fact that people both inside and outside the Church want to know and understand the Bible better. This volume has been constructed to be a real aid in every way and therefore includes a sensible quantity of Scripture quotation or reference within the text, remembering that Gods written Word says:
Each of the chapters making up the main body of this book covers a different area of Alpha and is quite self-contained. Thus, if any readers find they are having problems with a given chapter, they are encouraged to move on to the next they will be able to do so without difficulty. Each chapter looks at topics of crucial importance, so the book should greatly bless readers even if they decide to skip a portion. (Note that this book is ordered by subject rather than by Alpha talk. This has enabled us to create a vastly more useful work that also caters for the various Alpha-related books and post-Alpha resources, as well as for adaptations.)
Like a jigsaw puzzle, this material may appear to have one or two missing pieces until it has been finished. Although it has been written to answer questions raised as it goes along, this has not always been appropriate. The reader is therefore urged to continue with subsequent sections even if a matter does not seem to be totally dealt with in situ. They should find, by the end, that outstanding queries have been handled and that the fabric of the book holds together very cohesively.
A number of people have
worked on this volume, or have diligently reviewed it and
agree with it. However, readers must be discerning for
themselves and check what they read against
Scripture. After all, we are commanded to test
all things (1 Thess. 5:21). If
any errors are identified, please write to us so
that they can be corrected for a subsequent
Finally, the reader should be advised that this manual is committed to the truth and, as such, may seem a little unsentimental in places. Alpha deals with life-and-death issues, so we feel it is important that believers do not allow anything to cloud their judgment. (This is one reason why we have decided not to accept any royalties from the project.) Our earnest desire is to edify the Body of Christ, but please be prepared for thought-provoking material. This book should inspire, but we have also not hesitated to express concerns where necessary (although these are mainly relegated to footnotes so that they can be ignored if they are not of interest.) We are convinced that anyone who is genuinely eager to search out the truth and is open to learning more about the Lord will find this book very rewarding. Those who are rigidly set in their ways will inevitably have a more difficult time! The Lords advice to us is Buy the truth and sell it not (Proverbs 23:23). May God bless you.
Dusty Peterson and Elizabeth McDonald
(Reachout Trust is an international
ministry that upholds biblical truth and builds bridges
to those in the cults, occult and new age.
Anyone put off by this books title or cover text need not be alarmed. This book is not destructive but constructive; I would not have written a Foreword for it otherwise!
To those who feel that they already know everything they need to about Alpha, or who groan at the thought of yet another book about the Course, I urge you to think again. Alpha the Unofficial Guide is unlike anything else on the market. It comes from an exciting and different angle, and the vast majority of its information is simply unavailable from other guides.
This book is not just a quick read as some are these days; it is a sensitive and enthralling look at Alpha, full of great tips and eye-opening quotes, whilst serving as a reference work for later use too. Its qualities go much deeper still because it gently, yet powerfully, enables people to recognise how their entire worldview fits together - and how it relates to Scripture. This makes The Unofficial Guide a superb resource for every member of the Body of Christ, including new or struggling Christians and those with a ministry to them. I believe that many will find it a tremendous blessing.
I am impressed by the clarity of this book. Luke tells us that he investigated everything carefully (Luke 1:3), and Elizabeth has emulated him - an approach which she probably developed during her University studies in Church history. She also has the ability to present her findings in a highly readable way. She has saved us a lot of time and effort by performing the hard graft herself; all we have to do is sit back and benefit from the results. Yet, because everything here is properly documented and corroborated (unlike the unsupported statements that some others have made), we do not have to take her word for it but can easily verify matters for ourselves and demonstrate them to our friends as well.
Elizabeth has put both thought and vitality into this work and she has gone out of her way to make sure that it connects with as many people as possible. Whilst it unavoidably contains some data that will surprise and challenge, and whilst not everyone will agree with every word, anyone who is hasty enough to stop reading will miss out on much essential spiritual knowledge (Hosea 4:6). I invite you instead to discover this immensely important book one which I thoroughly commend to all.
You can also obtain details of the two volumes from the following outlets:
B. McCall Barbour: 28 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1ES, UK. Tel/Fax: +44 131 225 4816
Mustard Seed Bookshop: 2 Main Road, Gedling, Nottingham, NG4 3HP, UK. Tel: +44 115 987 9819
The Christian Bookshop: Sevenoaks Road, Pratts Bottom, Orpington, Kent, BR6 7SQ, UK. Tel: +44 1689 854117
NPN: P.O.Box 224, Swindon, SN6 7LG, UK. Tel: +44 7000 073373, Fax: +44 1793 861783, www.ChristianVideos.co.uk
Media Spotlight: P.O.Box 290, Redmond, WA 98073-0290, USA. Email: ContactUs@MediaSpotlight.Org
Margaret Godwin: P.O.Box 112, Trafalgar, Victoria 3824, Australia. Tel/Fax: +61 3 5633 2300, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org