Once an atheist who mocked Christianity and the God of the Bible, Dr. Hongyi Yang is now a well-respected professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Yang grew up in Southwest China where she was taught that God was nothing more than a fantasy or religious crutch used by uneducated people who didn’t know any better.
In fact, the first time she ever saw a Bible was in 2000 when she moved to Texas as a foreign exchange student. Prior to relocating to the United States, the assistant professor of systematic theology in women’s studies said she only knew one Christian her whole life.
Transitioning to the Lone Star state seated firmly in the Bible Belt proved to be quite the culture shock for Yang.
She was suddenly “surrounded by Christians and churches,” which admittedly left her with “contempt” toward Christianity. She was that convinced God was a myth and that we create our own destinies.
“I was an atheist and feminist,” but now she is a Systematic Theologian!
— Malcolm Yarnell (@myarnell) September 23, 2019
Beyond the idea of God in general being absurd, the now-theologian couldn’t grasp the idea of a Savior who died such a humiliating death on the cross like a mere mortal.
“I also mocked Christianity,” admitted Yang. “I thought it is so humiliating to worship a God who was crucified on a cross. This is exactly what 1 Corinthians says, that ‘a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him.’ (1 Corinthians 2:14). I was actually the foolish one.”
Thankfully, God did not allow Yang’s skepticism or disdain for Christianity to stop Him from pursuing her with His all-consuming love. In the last 3 days of December 2000, she attended an evangelistic conference where the messages from two different speakers had a profound impact on her heart. The professor suddenly knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ was who He said he was, and she surrendered to Him as Lord and Savior of her life.
Yang says experiencing “a kind of gentle, bright and great love” like she’d never known before “opened her eyes” to the Truth.
“I surely know that there is indeed a God and I am experiencing His love,” she wrote. “Life is not meaningless anymore because there is this God… The Gospel has changed and continues changing my life, my mind, and my whole person.”