By Editorial Staff
Published April 24, 2008
By Dr. Cai Xuanging
I grew up in an absolutely atheistic environment, a scientist’s family in a Communist country. Such a background shaped my view that I only believed in rationality, science, and hard work. During the Cultural Revolution, I was sent to the remote countryside and forced to live on myself for nearly six years. The severe life further deepened my conviction that for everything I must rely on myself. Later I went to a medical school and then graduate school. After graduation, I was appointed as a faculty member in this same medical college. In 1986, I came to the United States to pursue a Ph.D. degree. For all these accomplishments, I have always blindly credited my own efforts, plus some “fortune” as we Chinese often say.
The whole philosophical system in Mainland China is built solely on Marxist materialism; that is, material comes first, spirit second; metaphysics, idealism, and religions are all taught as premature epistemology, and only Marxist dialectic materialism is the perfect one. Especially for us who major in natural science, we believe that truth should be tested and repeated.
Normally, most Chinese students and scholars from Mainland China are extremely careful about investing their beliefs in someone. We were cheated and ployed upon during the Cultural Revolution, when we were taught to worship the man-made god, Mao Zedong, who was finally destroyed. This sad history tells me that man can create something or someone to worship to satisfy their spiritual needs or for their own purposes. Perhaps Jesus was a great man in history, but His supernatural powers might have been invented by His disciples for some purposes.
Lao Tsu, the great philosopher and teacher of Confucianism, about 2,000 years ago wrote in his famous book Tao Te Ching, “The wise man hears of the Word (Tao) and practices it diligently; the average man hears of the Word (Tao) and gives it thought now and again; the foolish man hears of the Word (Tao) and laughs aloud. If there were no laughter, the Word (Tao) would not be what it is.”
I used to think that Christians were no more than a group of nice people in search of their spiritual comfort because of a lack of self-confidence and an unbalanced personality.
Actually, many presidents of the United States have had Christian beliefs. President Jefferson once said that the Bible is the foundation of the United States. These great men, with super wisdom and strong personality, eventually directed their personal beliefs toward something supernatural. They influenced me to begin to question atheism, which I used to regard as perfect, and research the “divine” in life. Though I was terribly busy with my study and work, I thought such a research was worthy, for the claim for God’s existence in this world is either the biggest fraud in human history or the greatest mystery beyond man’s wisdom and rationality.
The Attraction of Christian Culture
What also attracted me to Christianity was its culture. Christianity has played an extremely important role in human civilization. Western culture is closely tied to Christianity. Before coming to the United States, I worked in Europe for one year. Many famous paintings and buildings actually describe stories of the Bible. The values of freedom, equality, and human rights are basically founded on the biblical concept that human beings are God’s unique creation. Western culture, including painting, music, architecture, philosophy, literature, and politics, is deeply influenced by Christianity.
When I came to the West, the first thing I wanted was to understand Western culture. Only after that could I deal with Westerners and understand their thoughts and ways of life.
Near the university where I studied, there was a Chinese Christian Fellowship. These Christians were middle-aged intellectuals who met together every Friday evening for Bible study. I knew that my English was not good enough to communicate in depth with Americans about theology or philosophy, and therefore, I thought it would be better to discuss this first with Chinese Christians. Both my wife and I joined the Fellowship.
As we studied the Bible together, I gradually realized that these pious Christians were not merely nice people as I had thought, but they were very serious about searching for the truth, and were confident about their beliefs. I was able to feel from them the beauty of humanity, which was very attractive to us who grew up in Mainland China with an unhealthy personality, such as distrust and self-isolation. Not only did these Christians patiently help us understand the Bible and Christianity, but they also kindly helped us through the first year, the most difficult year for any student studying abroad.
I had been curious about the Bible even when in China. At that time, however, the Bible for me was just an interesting book, solely because it was the best-selling and most widely translated book in the world. Its value as literature, philosophy, history, and art has been widely known. Any civilized intellectual living in a Christian environment is at a loss if he fails to read the Bible. When I began reading it, I did not understand and even disliked the stories about devils, miracles, creation, resurrection, and healing. I even thought these stories made the book less valuable and acceptable. Only later did I begin to understand that the Bible was the revelation of the Creator to His created subjects, and therefore, its true meaning is far beyond the given wisdom and rationality of human beings. If one limits himself only to his rationality and wisdom, he will miss the true points of the Bible.
As my questions were answered one by one, my self-imposed obstacles were automatically removed. The sky was clear and the next step was to practice my new beliefs. In 1988, both my wife and I accepted Jesus Christ as our own Savior, for we know that Jesus Christ can never be understood just by man’s rationality and scientific research. Our world is boundless and complicated. Science can explain to us “how”; only God can tell us “why.”
Life with Christian Beliefs
In the three years of Christian belief, my view of life and the world has been fundamentally changed. As I look up at the sky in the dark peacefulness, I feel that I have finally found my direction. Gone are my fears about death. While still facing many difficulties in my life, I feel deeply in my soul that I am moving toward a promising land, which is difficult to express. I know that my limited life has been linked with eternity. Jesus Christ is my own personal God. Now I can understand Confucius’ famous saying, “I am willing to die in the evening if I experience the Word (Tao) in that morning.”
Besides the invaluable peace and joy in my soul, the true God has also shown His faith and power in my family life, my study and my work. Also, I have experienced the great wonder and beauty of praying to God, which I once thought childish. Christian beliefs are fundamentally different from Communist beliefs. Jesus Christ gives me true hope and eternal life; communism is no more than a dream.
Before I thought that Christian beliefs were ridiculous; now I would say that it is ridiculous to refuse Christian beliefs. I pray, with heartfelt earnestness, that the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ may touch every thirsting soul of Chinese students and scholars.
Dr. Cai Xuanging was a medical doctor in China. He now lives in California, where he works as a research scientist. Reprinted from Mainland Chinese in America … An Emerging Kinship, Edwin Su, editor, published by Ambassadors for Christ, PO Box 280, Paradise, PA 17562; telephone: (717) 687-8564, fax: (717) 687-8891.
From Atheism to Knowing God
by Dr. Yiang An-Dong
I was invited to a Bible study group soon after arriving in the States. We were reading how God created the heaven and the earth and how He created Adam, the father of man, with the dust of the ground. I thought it ridiculous that science was greatly advanced and yet there were still people teaching such hilarious stories.
After I got used to the time difference and the initial adjustment, I began experiencing powerful, constant and overwhelming culture shock. I was greatly puzzled by America, the melting pot. I was beginning to feel unstable and lost. I was bothered by the cultural differences; I worried about my study, life and future; I felt uneasy about future problems such as my visa and passport extension; and I was greatly concerned about the family in Mainland China, who were struggling with rising inflation and the increasingly immoral society. I carried a heavy burden every day as if I were trying to keep my head just above the water in a turbulent sea. Daytime at school in front of people I had to cheer myself up to look like a strong man. At night alone in my room I complained to myself about the difficulties of life, and I did not know what to do with the uncertainty of the future. I was filled with worries and concerns, but had no one to turn to. My friends, sympathetic as they might be, were unable to do anything about it.
In the beginning I went to church, Bible study, and evangelistic meetings with an opposing and critical attitude. But gradually I came to realize some fundamental differences. Those Christians came voluntarily and willingly, not just for show. I was surprised to see that they were really serious about things concerning God and life, trying their best to apply biblical teachings to their daily lives. So I adjusted my perspective. I made an effort to study the Bible and related books, attended evangelistic meetings, talked with Christians, and kept my mind busy thinking about Christianity. As a result, my questions were answered one after another.
I realized I could not keep rejecting Christianity until I knew everything about the Bible because the knowledge of mine and this world combined was still little compared to the wisdom of the Creator of the universe. How could a finite being like me be compared with the infinite God?
As I learned in the Bible study, reflected in my mind, and spent time with mature Christians, I had some breakthroughs in dealing with my questions. I found that it is more accurate to say that Christianity is a “relationship” between God and man rather than saying that it is one of the religions. What the Bible shows is the relationship between the Creator and His creation.
Since I came to believe in the Lord, through my doubts and denials I have been coming closer to Him. Each experience has brought me closer challenges and difficulties, but I am confident that I will triumph over them all because God has changed me. I know that the Almighty God is taking care of me, leading and directing me, and I know where I am going and where my eternal home is.
My personal experiences have convinced me that the Jesus I trust is true, loving, and eternally living. He is more than what I can possibly tell.
Dr. Yiang An-Dong is a medical doctor and Ph.D. candidate studying in Louisiana. Reprinted from Mainland Chinese in America … An Emerging Kinship, Edwin Su, editor, published by Ambassadors for Christ, PO Box 280, Paradise, PA 17562; (717) 687-8564 telephone, (717) 687-8891 fax
Forerunner - Home » The Mandate Newspaper » The Mandate - Volume 2, Number 1
Your comments are welcome!
Visit The Forerunner's Discussion Forum!
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“… a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
$12.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!
Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:
1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion
This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.
Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.
“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan
Running time: 85 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)