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In defence of the Alpha course’s content

by
07 March 2014

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From the Revd Neil Britton
Sir, - I was deeply shocked by Canon Angela Tilby's comments in her column "Strategy or truth in mission?" (Comment, 21 February).

My first concern was her dismissal of the contents of the Alpha course as "banalities". She must know that these courses have been the means whereby thousands of people have come to faith in Christ and commitment to his Church? She is presumably reacting to goings-on at "Holy Spirit days".

I can testify, however, that many of those who responded to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives on such days are still, despite many challenges, active members of congregations. The Alpha leadership at national level is constantly reshaping Alpha so that it may continue to be used by the Spirit for the evangelism of this country.

My second concern was her statement that "there is almost no worthwhile Christian apologetic on offer to wrestle with questions of truth." Has she not read anything by, among others, Bishop Tom Wright, notably his questioning of some writers' arguments about whether the St Paul wrote the epistles attributed to him?

NEIL BRITTON
Rose Cottage, 7 Newbury Road
Kingsclere RG20 5SP


From the Revd Dr Catherine Shelley
Sir, - With reference to Canon Angela Tilby's article "Strategy or truth in mission?": recent statistics from the University of Birmingham may be instructive. It is notable that the highest attendance at an Anglican Society meeting this year was for a discussion on suffering; and the lowest was for an evening experiencing Messy Church.

Students very clearly stated that they wanted resources to be able to discuss their faith with others, a position that was also affirmed by the Christian Union's recent campus campaign.

CATHERINE SHELLEY
Anglican Chaplain
Multi Faith Chaplaincy
St Francis Hall
University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT

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