From the Revd Dr Stephen Laird
Sir, - As a minister working among a diverse community of
students, I agree with the observation that, in today's world,
young people, in particular, are far less wedded to a sense of
denominational identity (
News, 12 June).
Students are less clued up on doctrine, and are more interested
in being involved with expressions of Christian life and worship
which they enjoy, even if these are at variance with those where
they were nurtured. There is no reason, of course, why the Church
of England cannot be the winner here.
The fullest sense of denominational awareness requires a grasp
of post-Reformation history as well as some arcane doctrinal
subtleties, such as those lying beneath the Thirty-Nine Articles.
These days, it would probably be better if Christian people of all
traditions devoted more time and energy to the intelligent study of
the history, depth, and value of core Christian teachings. This
would mean that they would be in a better position to withstand the
theological tsunami that is latent in the cultural spread of
From the time of its inception, Islam has seen itself as an
"answer" to Christianity, and Christian claims around the
incarnation, the Trinity, and, more recently, the Bible have been
successfully presented in its intellectual and popular rhetoric as
A conscientious investigation of the many riches in the
biblical, Patristic, and subsequent doctrinal traditions within
Christianity can yield the resources we now need to make our
necessary responses both confident and convincing.
Dean of Chaplains and Associate
Lecturer, University of Kent
University of Kent
Canterbury CT2 7NX