And that’s how theology moves forward. Prayer, study and good biblical exegesis are all important – but the testing of ideas through vigorous debate is where you get to see if a novel approach to a Christian doctrine can stand on its own two feet.

The question often arises of how these theological debates actually play into the reality of living out our Christian faith. Reading about Sam Hailes’ trip to Lebanon and how the Church there is responding to the desperate plight of Syrian refugees (p14), we may wonder if there is a disconnect between these lofty academic concerns and the world we actually live in.

Does theology really matter in the end? Will it change the way I pray? The way I choose to spend my time and money? The way I love my neighbour as myself?

Well, yes, actually. It may well do. Perhaps not immediately, but the theology that shapes our understanding of God will inevitably trickle down and inform the way we act today.

Imagine the reaction to the early Christians when they first proposed the most theologically controversial idea the world had ever heard – that God came in the flesh as a real human being, lived among us, was executed as a criminal and then rose from the dead. Many would have laughed at them some wanted to kill them.

But that preposterous idea would end up changing the world forever. And it’s precisely because we believe in a God who crosses the cosmic divide to live within his battered creation, that Christians are willing to risk their own lives, comfort and safety to bring God’s love to Muslim refugees in Lebanon.  

So don’t dismiss theology. When we get it right, it makes all the difference in the world.

PS A very sad farewell to Lucinda as this is her last edition of the magazine as associate editor, a role she has carried out with passion, dedication and grace. We will miss her massively. Congratulations also to Sam Hailes, newly appointed as deputy editor.

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