Chinese Church Voices

An Engineering Student at Tsinghua University Comes to Faith

From the series Stories of Faith from Chinese University Alumni

Chinese Church Voices is an occasional column of the ChinaSource Blog providing translations of original writing by Christians in China. The views represented are entirely those of the original author; inclusion in Chinese Church Voices does not imply or equal an endorsement by ChinaSource.


This is the first in our series of testimonies from alumni of Tsinghua University and Peking University. These testimonies are translations of selected chapters from books published by ReFrame Ministries, The Reason for You II: Tsinghua Testimonies and three volumes of Peking University Testimonies. In each case we will post an excerpt from a testimony and include a link to the full testimony in downloadable form. Watch for more in the coming months.

For more information about these testimonies, see “Capturing Chinese Stories.”

From Resistance and Prejudice to a Tremendous Transformation

Zilang Wang (PhD in Thermal Engineering, Tsinghua University, 2015)

Looking back, I have been on this path of faith for over 10 years. Praise the Lord, for his joy is always in my heart. I would like to share my experience of how I came to the Lord. May the Lord be glorified in everything, as he should be.

Disdain and Hostility

Before I knew God, I considered theism to be extremely foolish. I strongly believed that I was an atheist and a Marxist (though I didn’t truly understand what Marxism was at the time). My original impression of religion was from textbooks and my own observations of life. The late Qing Dynasty that was described in my high school textbooks was very corrupt. Its rulers sought after many gods and used superstitious methods to rule the country. Because of this, the people suffered greatly, and the nation was in grave danger of collapse. I believed that the root of the decline was the ruler’s superstition and religious beliefs, and so I detested religion.

. . . Among all religions, I detested Christianity the most. I thought that Chinese Christianity was a product of the Opium Wars, a kind of cultural invasion, and a tool used by Westerners to rule the minds of the Chinese people. The moment Christianity came to China, it was associated with the nation’s shame. Affected by this view, I naturally treated Christianity as an enemy.

In my hometown, Buddhism was very popular, and most of the Buddhist believers were old people. On festival days, every family would visit Buddhist temples and burn incense. Of course, I was unwilling to go along. But under pressure from the elders in my family, I had to go with them. Still, in my heart, I thought they were quite foolish.

In short, I despised religion and was hostile towards it.

During college, an upperclassman shared the gospel with me, telling me that there is a God. I was quite shocked to hear it because I didn’t expect that in the 21st century there would still be people who believed in God. Later she told me that not only does God exist, but Satan (the devil) exists, too. This statement was even more unbelievable to me. I was scornful of her opinion. I loved using my debating skills and thought of all kinds of difficult questions to confront her with. A lot of the time, she couldn’t answer my questions. This made me more certain that religion is foolish.

Although I was against Christianity at the time, one thing puzzled me. That is, my upperclassman friend who shared the gospel with me was gentle, kind, and loving, and she had a good character. She studied very hard and had good grades. Compared with other non-Christians, I’d rather hang out with her. And that was why I would listen to her when she shared the gospel with me.

Struggles in My Mind

After getting to know each other better, she invited me to go to church with her. I went for the first time, and I was surprised that there were so many college students there. I was not amazed by God’s power, but I was amazed that the minds of so many college students had been corrupted. I thought to myself, this power of religion must be controlled; otherwise, society will be in trouble.

While at the church, I couldn’t understand what the pastor was preaching most of the time. So, I would just flip through the pages of the Bible during the sermon. I remember reading verses such as when the Lord spoke, the enemies’ hearts melted, and thought such things were way too idealistic. If it were true, then why would nations go to war with each other?

After the sermon, a sailor shared his testimony. He said that at first, he didn’t believe in God. However, one time he encountered a storm while sailing. He prayed to God saying that if God saved him from the storm, he would believe in God. Later, he sailed back safely, and thus he came to the Lord. I thought this was merely a psychological crutch. How could there be a God involved in this event?

After the gathering, I met with people in the church, and they were friendly enough. They asked me to leave contact information, and I left my QQ1 number. They started a seekers’ QQ group. In the following days, they daily shared faith-related information in the group, but I frequently shared news and current affairs in the group. Within a week, I was kicked out of the group by the group admin.

Another time when I was in the church the choir was singing a hymn named “Inviting Jesus to Be the King.” The believers were very sincere and excited when singing it, but I was extremely angry. Why? Because China is one of the countries with the longest history of a feudal system. The Revolution of 1911 resulted in the emperor being dethroned. It took great effort to finally abolish the feudal system, and yet people here in the church wanted to invite somebody to be on the throne again. Did they want to restore the feudal system? How dare the church openly preach the idea of restoring the feudal system! The more I thought about it, the angrier I got.

Before I came to the Lord, I had a lot of mental struggles like this. Afterwards, my upperclassman friend invited me to go to church several more times, but I still didn’t change my opinion towards Christianity. I said to her impatiently, “Please don’t talk to me about this again. If I were to believe, then the whole world would believe.”

I was like that for over half a year.

Overcoming Rational Obstacles

A while later, my upperclassman friend was about to graduate. When she was on the train coming back to the school, she met a Christian who told her that there was a preacher near the college who preached very well. Seeing that I was not touched by the sermons in the church, she invited me to attend the Bible study that was led by the preacher. That night at the Bible study, I experienced the first turning point in my faith.

At that time in my college life, I was not doing well in school. I thought I worked very hard, and yet my grades were bad. I was depressed. I was the class monitor at the school, but I couldn’t find a good strategy to handle things well. I had trouble carrying out the class monitor’s duties and offended many people. When the preacher spoke about Proverbs 18:2 (“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.”), it shook me, and I wrote this verse on a piece of paper. The more I thought about it, the stranger I felt. It was as if this verse had been spoken to me, and it precisely answered the questions that haunted me. I had never talked about those problems with others, and I didn’t think anybody could answer my questions. I never expected that I could find answers here.

I was so surprised. I knew the Bible was written thousands of years ago. How come the words in this two-thousand-year-old book were still so alive? I had thought that the Bible was just a book of religious doctrines, like the Koran or Buddhist texts, which were irrelevant to me. However, I didn’t expect that the words in the Bible, as if travelling through a time tunnel, could touch me in such a miraculous way.

Later, after several interesting encounters, I went to a house church, and started to fellowship regularly in a teacher’s home. The Christians I met were much gentler and humbler than the average person. They were very kind and loving—all of which helped reduce some of my prejudice towards Christianity. However, these weren’t sufficient reasons on which to build my faith. Does God exist? Does he love me? Did Jesus Christ die for me? I wasn’t sure, especially about that last question. I couldn’t imagine that a person who died two thousand ago could have anything to do with me.

Therefore, I told myself, I needed to have a practical approach when seeking God. If God really helps me and I really experience his love, then I will say God loves me; but if I can’t experience it, then I won’t believe. If I personally experience and acknowledge from my heart that Jesus died for me, then I will admit that Jesus is my Lord. Otherwise, I wouldn’t surrender.

I remember the teacher recommended a book called Song of a Wanderer, which greatly impacted me. Through this book, I was led into a whole new world. Inside it, I found many things that were familiar yet at the same time new to me. There were so many familiar scientists, whether from ancient times or modern times, whether Chinese or foreigners, who were all Christians! Then I explored the traces of God in physics, biology, thermodynamics, archaeology, philosophy, etc. From macroscopic areas to microscopic areas, I got the same answer: There is a God in this world!

I came to realize that faith in God is not foolishness, and that faith and science are not contradictory to each other. Those views dismantled my previous understanding of the world. I, therefore, started to actively seek. I needed to know if God existed in this world.

This is an excerpt from an English translation of the original testimony in Chinese which is available for download. The original Chinese testimony is found on pages 22–27 of《无问西东 因为有你》(The Reason for You II: Tsinghua Testimonies) available from ReFrame Ministries.

More about the Author

Zilang Wang (pseudonym) started studying thermal engineering at Tsinghua University in 2015. After coming to the Lord, Wang served in several ministries in the church, such as the choir, preparing meals for the church, and Bible study. In the future, He hopes to serve young people in areas of dating and marriage.

Endnotes

  1. A popular instant messaging software in China.
ChinaSource Team

ChinaSource Team

Written or edited by members of the ChinaSource staff.          View Full Bio


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