Alpha Course Manual by Nicky Gumbel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the coursebook for the Alpha course that I attended through my church between September and November.
What is Alpha?
Alpha is a course that introduces people to the fundamentals of the faith of Christianity. It's broken down into fourteen topics concerning the faith, and after a short talk, the members divide into small groups and discuss the issues. It is a way for people who have some tough questions and issues about God, faith, and Jesus to have a safe, non-judgmental forum for this discussion.
I decided to attend since it was free, and since it sounded like a worthwhile opportunity. It definitely was. I have never gotten this opportunity to sit down and talk about fundamentals of the faith like this course allowed. The book is a good adjunct. I finished the course and a few weeks ago, I read through the book again, referencing some of the Bible verses again. Reading the coursebook again cemented some of the concepts and allowed me to take the time to digest and reflect on the information offered in the weekly sessions.
What I really like about this book is the easy to follow outline style. I like that it's organized and it gives support for the points made with Bible verses and historical references.
I don't think God ever intended for faith in him through his Son to be complicated. He wanted each person to have the opportunity to know him, and that's the model that the writer of this book, Nicky Gumbel follows. Also the essence of Christ's personality, to speak the truth in love, is evident in the layout of this book.
While this isn't a scholarly approach like one would find with something like CS Lewis'
Mere Christianity, it shouldn't be. It's simple and straightforward, well-suited for the course and the group discussion style.
Taking the course was a real blessing, and having the coursebook to go back to, not to mention the notes I took during the talks (because I am a huge nerd), will be very useful and worthwhile in the future.
I am rating this book as I would any coursebook. On that level it's a five star rating. As I alluded to above, it's not written in sentence style, but more in bullet/outlines, but that doesn't detract from its usefulness. I'd recommend taking an Alpha course if you get the opportunity. You don't have to be a believer in Jesus to benefit from it. It's a good place to go even if you have questions about the faith and the idea of God in general.
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