HUBEI, China - Rev Xie Yonghui, a well-respected scholar and educator at Zhongnan Theological Seminary in Hubei, delivered an inspiring lecture on “Introductory Theology” earlier this year at a Bible Equipping Course organised by the Hubei Christian Council with the support of United Bible Societies (UBS).
Holistic Bible Training Is Necessary
Rev Xie firmly believes in the value and necessity of Bible Equipping Courses for lay preachers, many of whom face barriers accessing formal seminary education due to age or financial constraints. In his view, “These courses serve as vital platforms to reach and minister directly to the needs of these dedicated individuals.”
With over a decade of teaching experience, Rev Xie explained that a comprehensive and holistic approach, such as Systematic Theology, can help lay preachers better understand Christian doctrine including the attributes of God.
Mr Lin Zhuangying, a participant in the training, resonates with Rev Xie's perspective. He shared, "Systematic Theology holds immense significance for lay preachers as it provides a comprehensive understanding of biblical teachings. Something that most lay preachers neglect.”
Mind and Soul Liberated by God
Observing the way Rev Xie taught theology, one might assume that he has always been an intellectual but that is far from the truth. Before becoming a Christian, Rev Xie was seeking supernatural power and healing, hoping to help his mother who suffered from mental illness. Little did he expect that his quest for supernatural power would plunge him into deep spiritual bondage and darkness, landing him at the mental hospital multiple times. "I thought I was on a spiritual journey seeking enlightenment. I even wanted to liberate other people from their suffering. But I ended up being a mental case, tormented by evil spirits, filling me with lots of fear. I was a broken man.”
“I had been seeking supernatural power in vain. Now, I have found God - the One that has the power to truly liberate individuals from sin and suffering.”
By God’s grace, in between his mental breakdowns, Rev Xie visited a local church in his hometown village out of curiosity. To his surprise, this experience gradually restored his mental state. Over time, he was convicted of his sins and he embraced the Christian faith. “I had been seeking supernatural power in vain. Now, I have found God - the One that has the power to truly liberate individuals from sin and suffering.”
Driven by this newfound faith, Xie dedicated eight years to studying theology at Anhui Theological Seminary and Nanjing Union Theological Seminary. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in Old Testament Studies, a remarkable testament to his transformation. From being a mentally ill person, God has restored his mind not only to study theology but also to teach it!
Not Possible If Not for God
Reflecting on his experience, Rev Xie testified that God is real and alive even as he taught the doctrine of God to the lay preachers at the Bible Equipping Course. “I believe in the existence of God because it would be absolutely impossible to restore my mental well-being after how the evil spirits afflicted me. Not possible if not for God.”
Rev Xie was certain that the transformation power he experienced “was not just intellectual knowledge, not from any institutions, not from books.” Praise God that many of his family members and friends who witnessed his transformation embraced Christianity! His dedication in serving God extends beyond his role as a seminary teacher - he also actively ministers in churches and participates fervently in various Christian training and discipleship programs.
At the end of the interview, Rev Xie expressed his hope that more Christians would be empowered to have greater confidence and establish stronger roots in their faith through a proper understanding of God. We thank God for raising Rev Xie as a teacher and role model for both lay preachers and believers alike!
2023@UBS China Partnership