Listen to Pastor Brad Bigney’s sermon, “Good for Goodness’ Sake” to understand the illogical worldview of atheists and the passion with which they vehemently accuse Christians of being illogical.
As you may be aware from recent news reports, atheists and other humanists in London and Washington, D.C., are promoting their faith in a godless existence. They are using signs on public busses that ask the question, “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.”
As people are confronted with this question, even more questions are likely to arise. If he is logically consistent, the atheist must ask why he should be good if the world he lives in is nothing more than a series of random accidents and if people are nothing more than animals with big brains. The atheist might also have trouble deciding whose standard of good should be endorsed. Does he become a follower of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Adolf Hitler, Charles Darwin, or does he start his own sect of atheism and borrow a bit from everyone.
The Christian, on the other hand, might ask how any human in his own strength can do any truly good things when the Bible teaches us that “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6, NIV). Is there anything in man that would cause him to do good to others just for the sake of being good?
As Brad Bigney, senior pastor at a large Evangelical Free Church near Cincinnati, explained this past Sunday (in a message that was videotaped by the British Broadcasting Corporation), the atheistic message of being “good” is totally inconsistent with the way that people really live their lives. We are interested to see whether the BBC includes Pastor Bigney’s indirect confrontations of British scientist Richard Dawkins and others.
Be sure to listen to Pastor Bigney’s message in full. It includes excellent information about the self-described “new atheists,” who are really no different than the old humanists. Using many quotes from Dawkins and others, Pastor Bigney builds an extremely strong and highly logical case exposing the inconsistencies of atheism—atheists do not live out their belief in an evolutionary world founded on the interaction of time and chance.
History shows us countless examples of the effects of sinful humanity doing what is good in their own eyes. As Pastor Bigney pointed out in the high-energy session that merged solid Bible study with a down-to-earth lesson in logic, those who reject the Bible have only an arbitrary idea of goodness, while those who put their trust in the God of the Bible base their goodness on the nature and character of God. The point was clear—only the Creator can ultimately determine what is good or bad. Only the Creator has the authority to do so.
Some may read the signs from the atheists and conclude that we should be “good” so that our good deeds will outweigh our bad deeds. Whether this concept is attached to a belief in karma, a god who will place our lives on a scale, or a religious tradition that requires one to do good works for salvation, it is contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture. Paul makes this abundantly clear when he writes, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8–10).
As Christians, we are empowered by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to turn from the sin that defines the lives of those who have not repented and put their trust in Jesus Christ.
Pastor Bigney and his staff at Grace Fellowship Church have put these biblical truths into action through nouthetic counseling. The church operates the Counseling Center of Grace Fellowship in cooperation with the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors. Rather than arbitrary ideas of goodness, the pastors and counselors equip the Christians who attend the church to understand how God expects us to behave and live a life of joy in obedience to the principles and commands given in Scripture—the ultimate foundation. Atheists often point to biblical values in describing how people should behave, but they must borrow from the Bible to build their ideas. Ultimately, the atheists’ foundation is missing, and their “house” will fall.
While those “who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18) call people to be good for . . . no reason at all, we can offer them the hope of the gospel and the power to live for the God who is the standard of goodness. So, we offer you this sermon to encourage you to share the hope of Christ and to remind the world of the incarnation of our hope in Jesus Christ during this Christmas season.
You can find out more about Grace Fellowship Church, the Counseling Center of Grace Fellowship, and Ambassadors of Grace International by visiting http://www.graceky.org. We wish to thank Pastor Bigney for graciously allowing us to use his sermon and for his commitment to the sufficiency (2 Peter 1:3–4) and authority (2 Timothy 3:15–17) of the Word of God.