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Repackaging Christianity

Andrew Atherstone

The story of Alpha is of major significance for understanding the place of religious faith in the modern world, but that story has never been told - until now.

Since its launch in 1993, the Alpha movement has evolved from 'supper party evangelism' in the Kensington suburbs into a global brand of Christian outreach. Today, over a million people attend Alpha every year, but the history of its rise to popularity has never been documented. What caused such spiritual renewal in an age of scepticism?

And what propelled Alpha into a phenomenon that is recognised across the globe?

Alpha is far more than an introductory course to Christianity. At the core of its brand identity is a 'repackaging' of the Christian message for contemporary audiences. Innovation and cultural adaptability are built into Alpha's DNA, one of the chief reasons for its longevity and influence. Nimbly utilising the multimedia and digital revolutions, it has contextualised into cultures and languages across the planet. And led by charismatic, savvy individuals, it has attracted people from across the social spectrum, making waves in national media.

Andrew Atherstone leaves no stone unturned as he presents this fascinating history. With exclusive access to original archives, Atherstone recounts the miraculous stories of HTB's early years, the first full account of Nicky Gumbel's conversion, and the strategic decisions that launched Alpha onto the global stage of Christian influence.

With sharp historical analysis, Andrew Atherstone uncovers the story of Christian resurgence in our contemporary age.

Andrew Atherstone is Latimer Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and a member of Oxford University's Faculty of Theology and Religion.

He has published widely on modern Christian history, especially the evangelical, Anglican, and charismatic movements, for both general and scholarly audiences. His recent scholarly books include, as co-editor, The Routledge Research Companion to the History of Evangelicalism (Routledge, 2018), Making Evangelical History: Faith, Scholarship and the Evangelical Past (Routledge, 2019), and The Oxford Handbook of Christian Fundamentalism (OUP, forthcoming 2022).

Andrew is the biographer of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Justin Welby: Risktaker and Reconciler (DLT, 2014).

Category:  Church History
ISBN:  9781399801539
Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton
On sale:  April 2023
Format:  Paperback
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