Jesus Is the Path to Flourishing. Can the Buddha and Confucius Be the Beginning?

God’s truth revealed in ancient Chinese philosophies can help in evangelism and apologetics.

Confucianism and the Bible agree: Humans are capable of discerning basic moral principles, such as what is good and evil, and we should choose good through our conscience, or general revelation.

Moreover, Paul acknowledges our struggle and hardship in not doing what we want to do and doing what we don’t want (Rom. 7:15–20) because the Christian worldview believes humans have a fallen nature.

But this biblical view of humanity is harder for those with Confucian values to come to grips with. Their worldview says that humans are basically good and that through education and hard work they should be able to conquer weakness.

I’Ching Thomas’s book, Jesus: The Path to Human Flourishing, provides valuable insights into three ancient belief systems: Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. It demonstrates how many of God’s truths, which Chinese people have observed and applied from general revelation, can be understood through these ancient Chinese beliefs and acknowledged when sharing the gospel with people of Chinese descent.

Thomas, a Malaysian Chinese author and speaker who focuses on Christian apologetics in Eastern contexts, hopes to not only share the gospel with the Chinese but also answer the question of why the gospel is necessary for them, as they possess a rich history in their cultural faith traditions.

While charting points of continuity and discontinuity between Christianity and these ancient traditions, Thomas emphasizes that familiarity with this cultural landscape and how it interfaces with Scripture will prove helpful for people who seek to evangelize or develop their faith in this particular context.

Engaging age-old philosophies

Thomas unpacks the Daoist, Buddhist, and Confucian belief systems …

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