Machen: the Golden Rule doesn't cut it

"The Golden Rule furnishes an example. 'Do unto others as you would have others do unto you' - is that rule a rule of universal application, will it really solve all the problems of society? A little experience shows that such is not the case. Help a drunkard to get rid of his evil habit, and you will soon come to distrust the modern interpretation of the Golden Rule. The trouble is that the drunkard's companions apply the rule only too well: they do unto him exactly what they would have him do unto them - by buying him a drink. The Golden Rule becomes a powerful obstacle in the way of moral advance.... The persons to whom the Golden Rule is addressed [Jesus' disciples] are persons in whom a great change has been wrought.... they and only they can safely do unto others as they would have others do unto them."

Christianity and Liberalism - pg 37-38.


  1. Insightful, as Machen always is.

    Seems he is applying both the second use of the law ("a powerful obsticale") and the third use ("only they can safely do unto others as they would have others do unto them") to the Golden Rule.

  2. Machen's book on liberalism is one of my favorites, and feels like it was written a few years ago. He was a remarkable individual.