Is the Tao Teh Ching Inspired?
NCW 53, March-April 1998
Q. Is it true that your Church teaches that the Chinese classic, the Tao Teh Ching, is of the same inspirational origin and value as the Bible?
No. We have taught that the Tao Teh Ching contains many principles that are similar to the Gospel of John (in particular) and that in many respects it is close to the New Testament. But it is also very different from the Bible inasmuch as it does not acknowledge a personal God -- only an impersonal force -- and teaches that salvation is already latent within oneself -- which the Bible radically contradicts. In the area of ethics and morality there are undoubted similarities which are very close to the teachings of Yahshua (Jesus), sometimes amplifying New Testament teachings in a very helpful way. But to give it carte blanche authority of equal inspiration to the Bible we very certainly do not because the TTC does not deal with the question of sin and how to resolve it.
We recommend the TTC to maturer Christians who are well grounded in their Bibles. To those who are not we believe it can seriously lead them astray into pantheism and New Age thinking. It is not therefore a text we study save in the Holy Order, and then only in Firstborn colonies. We are quite favourably disposed to the Charles E. Mackintosh translation which, though not a true literal translation of the TTC, is placed in a Christian matrix where God is at least hinted at being personal.
Our advice -- read the TTC as you would any man-made document -- with respect, with caution, and with a consciousness always of what the Word of God teaches, being sure, like the Bereans, to test its teachings against those of the Bible.
This page was created on 9 May 1998
Last updated on 9 May 1998
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