My Testimony

我的见证

开始写见证的时候我想分三部分的:一. 我是怎么开始信基督教的;二. 我现在为什么信基督教;三. 我现在作为基督教徒的看法。写了不到一半,发现没有想象中的那么容易,风格不够自然。因为这样,我又重写了。写完后给了父母改,但后来没时间了,就又停笔了一段时间。今天是2008年11月1日。我在2007年元旦写完了初稿。从那时到今天,我的看法又成熟了。虽然学习是一辈子的事,我以后的看法应不会有大改变。纵然这篇见证只是我一辈子到现在为止经历的一张“快照”,但却不是草草完成的。每一句话我都仔细地考虑过,希望您也能把我说的一切都思考一遍。因为我还在这世界上,仍然是个还没有变完美的人,所以我的话也许会有错误。只能祷诉神,由祂的恩典来指导我说的每一句话,请祂去掉我说错的话。

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我是学电子工程的,对科学感兴趣。但我也认为科学只能回答世界上某些方面的问题。实验只能反证,而不能证明。在量子力学里,C60F48是目前会显示杨氏干涉的最大的分子。虽然在理论上,任何物体都会显示干涉,但像我量子力学教授说的,此实验并不能证明所有的粒子,尤其是更大的分子,都会显示干涉。

著名的物理学家Feynman说科学只能回答一种问题,就是可以用“如果……,那么……”方式表达的问题。我同意他的说法。科学只能给我们解释一件事情发生的过程,但是它并不能告诉我们这件事为什么会发生。例如,人们知道量子力学里的规则,但不能解释宇宙为什么要遵守量子力学的规则。基督教的解释就是因为基督是道,神是有理可循的,所以祂创造的宇宙也按照定理来运行。还比如说,宇宙的起源是什么?科学家只能猜测,可是即使他们知道了,也不能说明宇宙起源为什么会是那样。人们讲的“大爆炸”不就是个神造宇宙的故事吗?你能否定大爆炸的起源不是神吗?圣经里说,“自从造天地以来,神的永能和神性是明明可知的,虽是眼不能见,但借着所造之物就可以晓得,叫人无可推诿。”(罗马书 1章,20节)

科学还有一个短处就是实验只能局限于物质的范围,不能与非物质的东西接触。但许多人(不仅仅是科学家)先假定没有非物质的东西,所有的理论也都不考虑非物质的存在。因此,如果他们的假设错了,那么所有的理论都会陷入死胡同。

这也就是不信教的人和信教的人基本区别之一。不信教的人预设没有神。信教的无法跟这些人讲神的道理。不信者也许会回答说:“星星、地 球、植物、动物、人类等是碰运气而出现的。”

我个人预设神的存在。可是神是我看不到又摸不着的,怎么能肯定神存在呢?这就叫信仰。假如你见到了九千九百九十九只黑色的乌鸦。你能肯定见到的下一只乌鸦是黑的吗?所以,我信教的原因只能说是因为我愿意信教。更正确的说法,也是圣经里的解释,就是信不信不是我的功劳,而是神的礼物。是因为祂的恩典,我才得到了一颗能接受祂的心。圣经里写着,“你们得救是本乎恩,也因着信。这并不是出于自己,乃是神所赐的。也不是出于行为,免得有人自夸。”(以弗所书,2章:8-9节)。虽然是这样,一个人还是得做个决定,信还是不信。人生像一本小说,而我们是故事里的人物。神已经把故事编好了,但是从我们的角度来看,我们还是要做个选择。让我再详细地解释一下这个生命中最重要的抉择。

世界上每一个人都有罪。人们常常以为自己是好人,凭自己的努力可以升天。但耶稣说,“你们听见有吩咐古人的话,说:‘不可杀人’,又说:‘凡杀人的,难免受审判。’只是我告诉你们:凡向弟兄动怒的,难免受审判[有古卷在‘凡’字下添‘无缘无故地’五字]。凡骂弟兄是拉加的,难免公会的审断。凡骂弟兄是魔利的,难免地狱的火……你们听见有话说:‘不可奸淫。’只是我告诉你们:凡看见妇女就动淫念的,这人心里已经与她犯奸淫了。”(马太福音5章:21-22,27-28节)圣经里的保罗也说,“因为世人都犯了罪,亏缺了神的荣耀。” (罗马书3章:23节)。神是圣洁的,唯有圣洁的人才能与神同在。但如果大家心里都有罪恶,谁上得了天呢?

唯有神能拯救我们。神让祂唯一的儿子,耶稣基督,来替我们受罚。如此,神一边显示祂的恩惠,一边显示祂的公义。因为耶稣是神,他是无罪的,但是他最终在十字架上被钉死是为了承受我们的重担,承受天父对我们的愤怒。这都是天父的意愿。天父用了祂的儿子来代替我们,因为天父非常爱我们。祂儿子耶稣基督的苦难与祂的死显示了天父的恩典。耶稣为我们受苦和承担死亡以后,天父使他复活,因而显示了祂的权能,而宣称耶稣为一切的主。我们作为罪人要承认自己有罪,承认靠自己满足不了天父的公义,需要祂的怜恤,需要接受祂的恩典,认定我们的罪的确被基督在十字架上的死补偿了,认定他的复活胜过了死,并把他当成我们复活的希望;这样我们才可以得救,死后与神同在。

这些事都写在圣经里。现在的问题就是你愿不愿意相信圣经里的话。当基督徒就得完全相信圣 经。圣经里的话是神给我们的启示。如果我们怀疑它的话,怎么能说我们有信仰呢?一个人想象中的神如果和圣经里的神不一样,那么他凭什么能说自己是基督徒呢?那人不就创立自己的宗教了吗?

人们爱自夸,爱自作聪明,爱依靠自己的想法和理解来行事。可是圣经警告我们:“你要专心仰赖耶和华,不可倚靠自己的聪明,在你一切所行的事上,都要认定他,他必指引你的路。”(箴言3章:5-6节)人们喜欢按照自己的想象去编自己的神。可是人们能编事实吗?人们能改变事实吗?

读者你也许在想,我怎么知道圣经里讲的是真话?圣经里写着:“圣经都是神所默示的[或作‘凡神所默示的圣经’],于教训、督责、使人归正、教导人学义都是有益的”(提摩太后书,3章:16节)。虽然圣经里这样写着,但除了神的恩典,怎么劝也劝不了我。如果没有神的恩典,即使圣经前后一致,我也不会相信。用圣经当“证据”对某些人来说可能说服力不够强。但是请注意:世界上没有哪件事是不需要信心的。圣经里描述过,某些犹太人看到了奇迹都不信,证明了耶稣的话:“若不是差我来的父吸引人,就没有能到我这里来的;到我这里来的,在末日我要叫他复活。”(约翰福音,6章:44节)

关于固执的人,圣经里写着:“十字架的道理,在那灭亡的人为愚拙;在我们得救的人,却为神的大能。”(哥林多前书,1章:18节)和:“世人凭自己的智慧,既不认识神,神就乐意用人所当作愚拙的道理拯救那些信的人,这就是神的智慧了。”(哥林多前书,1章:21节)还有:“然而,属血气的人不领会神圣灵的事,反倒以为愚拙,并且不能知道,因为这些事惟有属灵的人才能看透。”(哥林多前书,2章:14节)简单的说,对某些人,圣经里的话是“愚拙”。我费再大的劲也劝不了他们。我只能希望读者您的心不要太固执。

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以上想法是我从最近五年的经验中总结出来的。这五年以来,神,在祂的恩典当中,让我飞快地成长。下面,我想分享一下我的经历,使信教的弟兄姐妹们能得到激励,使还没信的人能从我成长的过程中看见神的智慧,能力和荣耀。

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小的时候我是不信教的。虽然经常跟信教的人接触,我一直坚决反对信教。上五年级前,我们搬了家。在找新房子的时候,我的父母考虑了我上学的情况。许多房子都在基督教学校附近,如果买下了我就得上基督教学校。我坚决反对。最终,我们买的房子是在一所世俗的学校附近。所以上大学之前,我从来都没有理解过基督教到底是什么。

在上高中的时候,我的观点变了。我的心胸越来越开阔。自称为哲学家的我,成了不可知论者。我以为这样的观点最好。我也以为只要当个“好人”就行了,不需要信什么教。进入大学的时候,我决定保持不信任何宗教的状态。我那时候认为思想里最好不要有偏见,因为当大学生就是要头脑开放。但是上帝另有安排。

大一,跟我拼房的室友是位虔诚的基督徒。他叫马修。马修是个好交际的人,他交的朋友特别多,而我是个内向的人。我宁愿交几个极好的 朋友。虽然我们非常不同,但我们还是成为了朋友。当我遇到困难的时候,他会安慰我。他并没有直接给我传道。有一回我们谈到了一些关于道德的问题。我暗示我对酒的反感。他告诉我:“耶稣是个无罪的人,他都喝过酒,”指出喝酒不是罪恶。他也没多说,就每天晚上睡觉前躺在床上祷告。那时候我感到很幸运因他没给我传道。我一直想着要保持开放的状态,不想偏向任何宗教。

可是他的行为令我很佩服;那时候,几乎大家都在下载盗版的歌曲,但他却没有。他买的音乐都是正版的。因为佩服他的这种道德,我自己也开始付钱买我爱听的音乐。还有一回,我下课回到了宿舍,偶然听到了他跟另一位同学的一部分对话。我一直觉得那位同学的行为并不是很好。但当他问马修:“我会去地狱吗?”的时候,我的室友说:“审判不由我。”

大一结束了。我们离别之前,我流了泪。我想:“明年我们就不会在一起了。那么好的室友去哪儿找?”我告诉他我会想他的,但他却回答说:“过一个星期你就不会想了。”回到家里,我感到寂寞。但是他说的有道理。过了一段时间,我也没再想他了,直到暑假的某天,我准备出去打网球。在把网球拍套打开时,看见里面藏着一本书和一封信,是马修写的。信里写着:

“我知道你非常珍惜证据。也许你会对这本书有兴趣。”

这本书中文叫《千载悬疑》(英文名《More Than a Carpenter》)。为了马修和我的友情,我在上大二前把这本书读了。虽然我没有接受书里的每个看法和理由,但是它对我还是有影响。对我来说,其中最重要的两点就是:(一)新约圣经是世上最可靠的历史文件;及(二)历史里的事件不像科学实验,是不能重复验证的。这就是说,现在看不见祂,并不能说明从来都没有人看见过祂。

关于第一点:我想问你,历史书里的东西是谁写的?如果你相信历史书,那圣经里的话为何难以相信?圣经没有避开事实的问题。其实,耶稣的两个使徒写,“耶稣在门徒面前还行了许多别的神迹,没有记在这书上。但把这些事记下来,是要你们信耶稣是基督,是 神的儿子,并且使你们信了,可以因他的名得生命”(约翰福音,20章:30-31节)与“我从前领受了又传交给你们那最要紧的,就是基督照着圣经所记的,为我们的罪死了,又埋葬了,又照着圣经所记的,第三天复活了;并且曾经向矶法显现,然后向十二使徒显现。以后又有一次向五百多个弟兄显现。他们中间大多数到现今还在,也有些已经睡了”( 哥林多前书,15章:3-6节)。那时候,许多见证人都还活着,可以受诘问。

关于第二点,历史不能重复:历史不属于科学实验的范围。天父也不在科学实验的范围里,因为祂不是肉体。那凭什么说信祂不科学?还有如果神是像圣经里说的那样伟大,那祂创造的奇迹为何难以置信呢?

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上大二那年,我住的那层楼里有一位同学,是电子工程系里跟我同级的。他名叫伟诚,和我一样爱编程序。因为我们在修相同的几门课而且爱好又相似,我经常去他的房间跟他讨论作业或关于编程序的课题。我有一天发现他的书架上摆着几本关于宗教信仰的书。我很好奇,所以借了一本去读。这本书叫《进化退化造化》(英文名《Evolution? Degeneration? Creation?》)。一直以来,我以为进化论是事实,可是这本书却给了很多理由说明退化论更有道理。但因为我不是学这方面的,所以不知道应该怎么去想这个问 题。虽然这样,自从读那本书以后,我还是明白了我须要挑战所有的设想。现在我发现我的推理能力好多了,能指出许多论据的弱点。看关于科学的文章时,能看出理论或方法中的漏洞。其实这是件好事。科学研究就必须要这样想;样样都要考虑,样样都要挑战。

读完此书后,我对基督教越来越好奇了。深夜里,我和我的室友经常讨论关于神的题目。我们这样争了两年。在这两年里,我发现我怎么争论也赢不了。起初我没意识到为什么,直到大四我才明白其实是双方当时的预设不一样。

大学第二年结束了。我从伟诚那里又借了两本 书。一本叫《护教手册》(英文名《Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics》)。另一本叫《重审耶稣》(英文名《The Case for Christ》)。对于很多更成熟的基督徒来说,基督教拥护论是比较浅的,有时不可靠,有时也不完全是符合圣经的(此书在这些方面还不错)。但是那时,对我来说,拥护论非常重要。我是个科学家,证据是必要的。《重审耶稣》说服了 我。我就渐渐地开始信了。

大二大三之间的暑假,我和伟诚当了室友,在学校参加同一个研究项目。那暑假,他介绍我去学校附近的一个教会。从此,我们互相鼓励上教 堂。我还请了马修跟我们一起来。

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大学第三年的冬季,我在宿舍碰到了一位很聪明的同学,也是信教的。他一般只跟他的室友接触,但那学期,那位同学与我跟我的室友成为了朋友。他叫亨利。他的智力和推理能力非常强。有些无神论者经常提到信教的人都不聪明,但是亨利可以当作反证。他现在在哈佛大学医学院,同时攻读医学博士和哲学博士学位。

那年春天,我参加了学校里的一个基督徒团契。在团契的环境中,我对神和基督教的理解更上一层楼。每个周五晚上,我会参加团契的“大组”活动。在大组里,所有的弟兄姐妹都集中在一起,做礼拜。我们会唱赞美主耶稣的歌,听牧师或执事解释圣经里的一段话和做祷告。

大三升大四的那个暑假,我没有找暑期工作,就在学校帮我的导师干事。那个暑假正好有许多团契里的弟兄姐妹也在学校里。我就跟着他们,每个星期参加暑假“小组”学圣经。暑假后,我觉得我和团契里的人的关系更亲密了。

我也跟团契执事真山成了朋友。真山也是学电子工程的。我教他打球。他经常带我出去吃饭。从他的行为和信仰中,我学到了什么叫敬虔。他成了我的好榜样。

我也跟亨利接触很多。在跟他接触半年后,感到他的某些想法有道理,尤其是下面的看法:信不信是个选择,科学和拥护论没什么作用。随便怎么讨论,事情的原因总会有至少两个解释,一个关联到神,一个关联到运气。一个人信是因为他愿意信。(但要记得,这个愿望最后是神注定 的。)

我希望读者能体会到信不信教是人生最重要的选择,比上大学、结婚、找工作,都重要。为什么呢?因为信不信不仅牵连到一个人一辈子的想法和做人的道德,还牵连到永生的问题。

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大四,我参加了团契的“小组”。我们当中的本科男生成为一组(女生另有小组),每周聚集,学圣经,做祷告,聊聊个人生活。就这样,我认识了更多弟兄们。

在两年的时间里,我,马修和伟诚都去学校附近的那所教堂,但是我们一直都没有感觉到我们是团体的一部分。大家在一起的时候不多。经常只有我一个人去教堂。伟诚经常回家,而马修经常在星期天早上参加飞碟比赛。有时候我也找借口懒得去。并且,即使我们去礼拜,牧师一讲完,歌一唱完,我们就骑着自行车回校园。这样子,我们的信仰没有机会成长。

有一天,团契中的一位姐妹劝我去团契的母教 会。我想了想,认为是个好主意,因为成长需要团体,需要一个稳定的环境。在圣经里,团契和教会没有区别。我的团契是它的母教会支持的。既然我参加了团契,那我也应该参加母教会,否则就不像个家庭成员了。因此,第二个学期(冬季)我开始去旧金山中央长老教会。我和团契里的人的关系越来越亲密。慢慢的,我参加越来越多的活动。在天父的恩典之中,我懂得为弟兄姐妹们和为教会服事的道理。我懂得什么叫谦虚,什么叫恩典,什么叫原谅,什么叫顺服。

2007年,我当了一个小组的组长。跟小组里的弟兄们学习圣经是我生活中的一大乐趣。虽然占的时间不少,但是我学会了怎样依靠神。我不太为考试、成绩、等担心,但也得到了一个学期当助教的资助。耶稣说:

“所以我告诉你们,不要为生命忧虑吃什么,喝什么,为身体忧虑穿什么。生命不胜于饮食吗?身体不胜于衣裳吗?你们看那天上的飞鸟,也不种,也不收,也不积蓄在仓里,你们的天父尚且养活它。你们不比飞鸟贵重得多吗?你们哪一个能用思虑使寿数多加一刻呢[或作‘使身量多加一肘呢’]?何必为衣裳忧虑呢?你想:野地里的百合花怎么长起来;它也不劳苦,也不纺线。然而我告诉你们,就是所罗门极荣华的时候,他所穿戴的,还不如这花一朵呢!你们这小信的人哪!野地里的草今天还在,明天就丢在炉里,神还给它这样的妆饰,何况你们呢!所以,不要忧虑说:‘吃什么?喝什么?穿什么?’这都是外邦人所求的。你们需用的这一切东西,你们的天父是知道的。你们要先求他的国和他的义,这些东西都要加给你们了。所以,不要为明天忧虑。因为明天自有明天的忧虑;一天的难处一天当就够了。”(马太福音,6章:25-34节)

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五年以来,我的信仰一直在成长。关于基督教的资料我读得越多,对基督教的信仰和理解就越坚定。我自己也在慢慢的变化。我不再下载盗版软件了,我也对法律有更多的尊重,而且也对传道感兴趣。我认为向一个人布道是爱他的一种表 示。我爱你,所以我想分享这个关于永生的好消息:你是个罪人,但“你若口里认耶稣为主,心里信神叫他从死里复活,就必得救。因为人心里相信,就可以称义。口里承认,就可以得救。经上说:‘凡信他的人,必不至于羞愧。’犹太人和希腊人并没有分别;因为众人同有一位主,他也厚待一切求告他的人。因为‘凡求告主名的,就必得救。’”(罗马书,10章:9-13节)

所以,承認你有罪,悔改并来跟随基督吧。我告诉你这些事是因为我爱你,希望能在天上永远和你认识,一起赞美神的荣耀。


如果你想更了解基督教,或者有另外的意见,请把电子邮件发到 xuanwu@stanford.edu.

My Testimony

When I first started writing my testimony, I wanted to split it into three portions: 1. How I came to believe; 2. My present reasons for believing; and 3. My current views as a Christian. Before writing half of it, I discovered it was difficult to maintain a natural style, so I rewrote it. After giving it to my parents for grammatical corrections, I became busy again, and put it on hold. Today is November 1, 2008. I finished my first draft on New Year’s Day, 2007. From then until now, my perspective has further matured. While learning is a lifelong process, I do not believe my views will change that much more. And while this testimony is just a snapshot of my life’s experience to the present, it was not done in a hasty manner. I have carefully considered every sentence, and I hope you will do the same. Nevertheless, I am human, not yet perfected because I’m still in this world, so some of my words may be in error. I can only pray for God to direct me by His grace, and remove whatever is false from here.

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I study electrical engineering, and am fascinated by science. But I also believe that science can only answer certain questions in this world. Experiments can only disprove; they cannot prove. In quantum mechanics, C60F48 is presently the largest molecule to exhibit Young’s interference pattern. While in theory, any object should exhibit interference, as my quantum mechanics professor has said, this experiment cannot prove that all particles, especially larger ones, interfere.

The famous scientist Richard Feynman said that science can only answer one type of problem, namely, of the form “If…, then…” I agree with him. Science can only describe to us the process by which something happens, but it does not tell us why this event occurs. For example, people know the rules of quantum mechanics, but have no clue why the universe must obey these rules. In Christianity, the explanation is that Christ is the Logos (from which the word “logic” is derived), and God is reasonable, so His creation necessarily follows principles. Another example is the question of the origin of the universe. Scientists can only guess, but even if they know the origin, they cannot explain why it has to be that way. Isn’t the concept of “Big Bang” just another creation story? Can you be certain that the origin of the Big Bang is not God? The Bible says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

Another shortcoming of science is that it is confined to the physical realm, and cannot interact with immateriality. But many people (and not just scientists) first assume that non-physical things don’t exist, so all their theories do not consider their existence. Therefore, if their assumption is wrong, then all these theories are trapped in blind alleys.

This is one of the fundamental differences between a non-believer and a believer. There is no way by which a believer can speak of God’s reason with these non-believers. The non-believer can always answer, “Stars, the Earth, plants, animals, people, and so on all appeared by chance.”

Personally, I assume the existence of God. However, I cannot see or touch God, so how can I be certain that God exists? This is what faith is. If you see 9,999 black crows, can you be sure that the next crow is black? Thus, the reason I believe in God is simply that I want to believe. More accurately, which is also the Bible’s explanation, is that the act of faith is not by my ability, but a gift from God. It is only by His Grace that I possess a heart that can receive Him. The Bible states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Nevertheless, a person still has to make a real decision whether to believe or not. Life is like a novel, and we are the characters of that novel. God has already written the story, but from our perspective, we still have to make a decision. Allow me to explain in more detail this most important decision in life.

Everyone in the world has sin. People often think of themselves as “good people,” and based on their good works, they can get to heaven. However, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. […] You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28). Apostle Paul also said, “[…] for all have sinned an fall short of the glory of God.” God is holy, and one can only be with God if he is holy. Therefore, if everyone has sinned, then who can go to heaven?

Only God can save us. He willed that His Son, Jesus Christ, take our place in punishment. Thus, God displayed his grace at the same time displaying his justice. Because Jesus was God, he was without sin, but in the end, he was crucified on the cross to shoulder our responsibility and bear the wrath of the Father. This is all based on the will of the Father. He used His Son to substitute for us because He loves us. The suffering and death of Jesus manifested the mercy of God. After Jesus suffered and died for us, the Father resurrected him, thus demonstrating His power and asserting the lordship of Jesus over everything. We as sinners need to recognize our sin, realize that based on our own efforts, we cannot satisfy the Father’s righteousness, we need His pity, need to receive His grace, believe that our sin was expiated by the death of Jesus on the cross, believe that his resurrection overcame death, and make him the hope of our own resurrection. Thus can we be saved and be with God after death.

All these things are written in the Bible. The question now is whether one believes what the Bible says. As a Christian, one must completely believe in the Bible. The words in it are the revelation that God has given us. If we doubt them, how can we say we have faith? If the god of one’s mind is not the God of the Bible, then how can one say he is a Christian? In that case, isn’t that person making up his own religion?

People love to boast, exalt their own intelligence, and rely on their own understanding to do things. However, the Bible warns us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). People like to make up their own gods according to their imagination. But can people make up the truth? Can people change what is true?

Perhaps you are thinking, “How do I know that the Bible is true?” The Bible says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). While it is written in the Bible, without the grace of God there is no way to convince me. Without God’s grace, despite the consistency of the Bible, I will not believe. Using the Bible as “evidence” is not sufficient for many people. But know that there is nothing in this world that does not require faith. The Bible described some Jews who saw the miracles of Jesus but did not believe, which proved the words of Jesus, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).

Regarding the obstinate, the Bible states, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18) and “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21) and also “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Simply put, for certain people, the Bible’s words are “foolishness.” I can spend as much effort as I want and still not convince them. I can only wish that you, O reader, will not harden your heart.

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The above thoughts are a summary of the last five years of my experience. These five years, God, in His grace, allowed me to grow quickly. Below, I would like to share my experience, so that my fellow brothers and sisters in faith can receive encouragement, and allow those who do not yet believe see the wisdom, power, and glory of God in my spiritual growth.

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When I was little I was not religious. While often interacting with others who were religious, I was resolved to oppose religion. Before fifth grade, we moved. As we were looking for a new house, my parents took my elementary school education into account. There were many houses next to Christian schools, so if we bought one of those houses, I would have to go to a Christian school. I was adamantly against the idea. Finally, we bought a house next to a secular school. Thus, before college, I never understood what Christianity really was.

In high school, my perspective changed. My mind became more and more open. Labeling myself as a philosopher, I became agnostic. I believed such a mindset was the best. I also believed that as long as I was a “good person,” everything was fine. There was no need to believe anything. As I was entering college, I resolved to maintain an “open” position. I believed at that time that it’s best not to have any biases in any of my thoughts, because that was what I thought being a college student entailed. But God had other plans.

My freshman year roommate was a devout Christian. His name is Mark*. He was a sociable person and made a lot of friends; I, however, was introspective and would rather make a few very good ones. While we were different, we still became friends. When I was in hardship, he comforted me, but he never directly preached to me. One time we ended up on the topic of morality. I hinted at my repulsion for alcohol, but he said to me, “Jesus was sinless, but he drank wine,” pointing out that drinking isn’t a sin. He didn’t say much else, but he would pray every night in his bed. At that time, I felt very fortunate that he didn’t preach to me. I had wanted to keep an open mind, and didn’t want to be swayed by religion.

However, I was struck by his behavior. At the time, everyone was downloading pirated music, but he did not. He bought all his music. As I admired his morality, I started paying to buy my own music. Another time, when I returned from class, I happened to hear a snippet of conversation between another student and him. I never liked this other student’s behavior, but when he asked Mark, “Am I going to hell?”, my roommate responded, “I am not the judge.”

The end of my freshman year, before we parted, I shed a few tears. I thought, “Next year we won’t be together anymore. Where am I going to find another roommate like him?” I told him I was going to miss him, but he replied, “After a week you won’t think about me anymore.” When I went back home, I felt lonely, but he had a point. After a while, he didn’t cross my thoughts at all, until one day in the summer, I was getting ready to play some tennis. When I opened up my case, I found a book and a letter from Mark. In the letter, he included the following line:

“I know you appreciate evidence. Perhaps you will find this book interesting.”

The book was called More than a Carpenter (its Chinese title is 《千载悬疑》). Because of our friendship, I read the book before my sophomore year. While I didn’t accept every view or reason, it still had an effect on me. For me, the two most important points I learned from the book were: (1) the New Testament was the world’s most reliable historical document; and (2) historical events are not like scientific experiments; they cannot be repeated. That is to say, just because we cannot see Him now does not mean nobody has ever seen Him.

Regarding the first point: I would like to ask the reader, Who wrote the things in history textbooks? If you believe textbooks, why is the Bible so hard to believe? The Bible does not avoid the question of the truth of the message. In fact, two of Jesus’ apostles wrote, “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31) and, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6). At that time, there were living witnesses who could have been cross-examined about these claims.

Regarding the second point, that history cannot be repeated: history is not in the realm of science. The Father is also not within the confinement of scientific experiments, because He is not flesh. So what is the basis to say that to believe in God is not scientific? In addition, if God is as powerful as the Bible claims Him to be, then what is so difficult about believing in the miracles that He performs?

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In my second year, on my floor of my residence, was an electrical engineering student in the same class as I was. His name was Cheng*, and he loved programming as much as I did. Since we were taking the same classes and we shared similar hobbies, I would often go to his room to talk about homework problems or programming topics. I discovered one day that there were some books on faith on his bookshelf. I was very curious, so I borrowed one. It was titled Evolution? Degeneration? Creation? Until then, I had always taken evolution to be fact, but this book provided many reasons that made the theory of degeneration more compelling. But since I was not an expert in this field, I did not really know how to approach this problem. Nevertheless, after reading that book, I learned to scrutinize my assumptions. My reasoning skills have improved, and I could now point out weaknesses in many arguments. When I read scientific papers, I can now see holes in the theory or methodology. This is actually a good thing. Scientific research requires this type of thinking: everything needs to be considered, everything needs to be challenged.

After reading that book, my curiosity for Christianity grew. I would often have discussions about God with my roommate deep into the night. We debated like this for two years. In those two years, I discovered that I could never win. At first, I could not figure out why; not until my senior year did I understand that it was because the two sides’ assumptions were different.

My sophomore year ended. I borrowed two books from Cheng. One was Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics and the other was called The Case for Christ (its Chinese title is 《重审耶稣》). To many mature Christians, apologetics seems pretty shallow, is sometimes unreliable, and is even sometimes not consistent with Scripture (The Case for Christ is actually pretty good in this regard). But back then, apologetics was extremely important for me. I was a scientist, and evidence was necessary. The Case for Christ persuaded me, and I slowly started believing.

The summer between my second and third year in college, I roomed with Cheng, participating in the same research program together. That summer, he introduced me to a church near campus, and from then on, we encouraged one another to go to church. I even invited Mark to come.

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Winter quarter of my junior year, I met a very smart student in my dorm; he was also a Christian. He usually only talked to his roommate, but that quarter, he and my roommate and I became friends. His name was Jeong*. His intelligence and reasoning abilities were very strong. Some atheists often remark that Christians are stupid, but Jeong is a counterexample. He is currently at Harvard Medical School pursuing an M. D./Ph. D.

That spring, I joined a Christian fellowship on campus. In that environment, my understanding of God and of Christianity reached new heights. Every Friday night, I would go to the fellowship’s “Large Group.” There, all the brothers and sisters would gather together and worship. We sang songs that praised the Lord Jesus Christ, listened to a pastor or a deacon exposit a portion of the Bible, and prayed.

The summer between junior year and senior year, I did not find a job over the summer. Instead, I stayed at school helping my advisor. That summer, many of the brothers and sisters in the fellowship happened to be at school as well. I followed them to “Small Group” every week. After that summer, I felt a lot closer with the people in the fellowship.

I also became friends with the fellowship’s deacon, Chinsan. He was also an electrical engineer. I taught him to play tennis, and he often treated me to meals. From his faith and deeds, I learned about godliness. He became my example.

I also interacted with Jeong a lot. After half a year, I felt that he had some reasonable ideas, especially the following: to believe or not is a choice; science and apologetics is not very useful, in that no matter how one argues, the reason behind something can always have at least two explanations, one associated with God, and the other associated with chance. A person believes because he wants to believe. (However, we must remember that God had predestined this desire.)

I hope the reader realizes that believing is the most important choice in a person’s life, more important than going to college, getting married, or finding a job. Why? Because faith involves not only a person’s beliefs and morals in this life, but also involves the question of eternal life.

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My senior year, I participated in a “Small Group.” The undergraduate guys formed a group (the girls had their own group) that gathered every week, learning from the Bible, praying, and talking about how life was going. In this way, I became acquainted with more brothers.

Those two years, Mark, Cheng, and I all went to a nearby church, but we never felt we were part of the greater body. We weren’t together all too often. Many times, I went to church alone. Cheng often went home, and Mark had Ultimate Frisbee tournaments, which always happened to fall on Sunday mornings. Sometimes, I was lazy and neglected to go myself. Even when we did go, as soon as the pastor finished his sermon and we finished singing, we would ride back to campus. Our faith did not have an opportunity to grow.

One day, a sister in my fellowship urged me to go to church with them. I considered it and thought it was a good idea because growth required a community, a stable environment. In the Bible, there was no real difference between a fellowship and a church. My fellowship was sponsored by its mother church. Now that I joined the fellowship, I really should go to their church, or else I would not be like a family member. Thus, winter quarter, I started going to the San Francisco Central Presbyterian Church. My relationship with the people in the fellowship grew closer. Slowly, I participated in more and more activities. By the grace of God, I understood what it meant to serve my brothers and sisters and the church. I learned what humility meant, what grace meant, what forgiveness meant, what obedience meant.

In 2007, I became a small group leader. Studying the Bible with my bothers was one of my great delights. While it occupied no small amount of time, I learned how to depend on God. I did not stress as much over academics, and I was financially covered by a teaching assistantship. Jesus says:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life [or ‘a single cubit to his height’]? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34)

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In the past five years, my faith constantly grew. The more I read about Christianity, the more stable my faith and understanding became. My personal life slowly transformed as well. I no longer download pirated software, I also respect the law more, and I am interested in missionary work. I believe that preaching to a person is a manifestation of love. I love you, so I want to share this good news regarding eternal life with you: you are a sinner, but “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:9-13)

Therefore, repent and follow Christ. I tell you these things because I love you, hoping that in heaven, I will know you forever, and praise with you together the glory of God.


If you would like to learn more about Christianity, or you have other comments, please send your e-mail to xuanwu@stanford.edu.



*Names changed to protect the privacy of the individuals.