Friday Church News Notes, February 2, 2007, www.wayoflife.org fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143

Southern Baptist pastor Rick Warren, of Saddleback Church in California, has teamed up with Alpha International and the Billy Graham Association in the My Hope India project. The
Alpha International Newsletter, published December 4, 2006, contains Warren’s high recommendation of Alpha. He calls it “one of the most effective evangelism tools for the 21st century” and says that you can use it to win the lost and “revitalize your church.” He says his 40 Days of Purpose and Alpha “fit together like hand in glove.” He claims both programs are “inspired by the Holy Spirit to deepen and develop the Church.” He concludes, “I, Rick Warren, want to tell you that Alpha has my 100% endorsement.” This exposes the radical nature of Warren’s ecumenical philosophy. The Alpha program was birthed out of the charismatic Laughing Revival that broke out in the Holy Trinity Brompton Anglican parish in London in the early 1990s. I visited a service at Holy Trinity in March 1997 and witnessed their charismatic error firsthand. There was “spirit slaying” and “holy shaking.” The Alpha program consists of 15 sessions and runs for ten weeks, covering some of the basic teachings of the Gospel and Christian living. Its broad denominational appeal is the product of its doctrinal shallowness and charismatic experience orientation. It refers to salvation, the cross, the death of Christ, etc., in such a general way that false doctrine is not refuted. It says salvation is by grace, for instance, but it does not say that salvation is by grace ALONE by faith ALONE through the blood of Christ ALONE without works or sacraments. It refers to the Bible as God’s Word in a general sense, but it does not explain that the Bible is God’s inerrant, infallible, supernatural Word that must be reverenced and obeyed in every detail and that the Bible is the SOLE authority for faith and practice. It refers to Christ’s death on the cross, but does not plainly explain the vicarious atonement that was required for man’s salvation. It refers to man’s need, but it does not describe man as a depraved sinner by nature. If Alpha were that specific, it is certain it would not be ecumenically popular in this apostate hour. The reason Rick Warren recommends this shallow approach 100% is because it is the same approach that he uses, which a quick reading of The Purpose Driven Life will prove. About half-way through the 10-week Alpha program, the leaders conduct “Holy Spirit Day” or even have a “Holy Spirit Weekend Away.” The purpose is to bring the participants into a charismatic experience. The leader “takes them through the experience of receiving the Holy Spirit.” Those who take the courses are urged to open themselves to the “slaying in the spirit” and other unscriptural experiences. The participants are taught that “tongues speaking” can be learned. They are taught to expect extra-biblical revelations from God through dreams and “words of knowledge.” THE ALPHA PROGRAM HAS BEEN USED WIDELY IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH SINCE THE 1990S. There is even a Roman Catholic division of Alpha. In the latest edition of the Alpha International Newsletter, the one containing Warren’s 100% endorsement, Catholic priests praise Alpha after the same fashion as the “evangelical” pastor. There is a report on the activities of “Alpha for Catholics” in various parts of Asia and South America. Alpha founder Nicky Gumbel, who Warren calls his “friend,” spoke in Rome in May 2006 at the Catholic Charismatic Renewal’s 40th anniversary. Rick Warren is called “America’s pastor” for good reason. He is so shallow in his teaching, so positive in his approach, so slighting of repentance, so neglecting of unpopular doctrines such as hell and judgment, so accepting and tolerant of heresies, so soft-spoken on that nasty subject of worldliness, that apostate America can’t help but love him.