Steven Furtick has generally managed to fall just below the radar in giving heretical statements. Sure, his church services are gimmicky and mirror that of a poorly orchestrated youth group (whoever compiled these clips is a genius). Sure, he makes partnerships and supports some people who have not held to orthodox views on the Trinity. Heck, he even jokingly writes a book, having been spurred to do so by John MacArthur (rather than heeding the single-worded rebuke from a man, who’s proven himself to be qualified for decades). But has any of what he has said thus far been overtly heretical? One would truthfully have to comb through hours of his “sermons” to be sure – or they could just watch the following video on his Facebook page.
The issue in question: Steven’s gleefully repeated line near the end, “God broke the Law for love.”
So, God broke the Law for love, eh? Not just the Law, but His Law; the very Law given to the Israelites and now in our possession, that Paul maintains is “…holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good” in Romans 7:12 and “…good if one uses it lawfully” in 1 Tim. 1:8. God broke His own Law?
While one might maintain legitimate distinctions on the purpose of the Law for the believer today – a statement like this ought to startle us. Why? Scripture indicates the only ones to be guilty of breaking God’s own Law is man and that while we are not presently under the Law if found to be in Christ, it is not without purpose or applicability for the New Testament believer. The book of Romans masterfully demonstrates the power and function of the Law to condemn the unbeliever; this is why we find the apex of the book in 8:1, where Paul declares that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The remarkable truth of the gospel is bound in these words – for while we were formerly enemies of God due to Adam’s sin (and especially our own), we are now reconciled to the Father through the blood of Christ (See Romans 5).Yet we aren’t simply relegating the function of the Law to aspects of our inherited and practiced sin-nature; the Law as a whole, whether you accept a Tripartite division or not, is wholly, a profoundly moral piece of literature. For a better explanation of what I am referring to, see Tom Schreiner’s book here where you can read most of it for free.
But the real issue isn’t even Furtick’s assumption of the Law here – but the act of salvation, as he states that the Law was broken in order to demonstrate the love of God. Yet it appears, to the chagrin of many heralding this video that just the opposite happened. More clearly, while we were yet breaking the Law, God demonstrated His love for us by fulfilling that same Law in Christ, through His perfect and willing obedience, the fulfillment of prophecy, and His penal substitutionary atonement. Love was demonstrated – not in the breaking of the Law by God, but in God’s Trinitarian intervention on behalf of the law-breaker.
Law-breakers deserve wrath, yet in Christ are given grace; they are required to pay a debt, yet in Christ that debt has been paid in full; God demands justice and death, yet in Christ justice was exacted and new life was given. Attributing analogous claims of our heavenly Father not caring about the Law in place that He instituted and mercifully gave to an earthly father disobeying traffic laws to save his son (as much as we can all place ourselves in that scenario) is disingenuous to what took place in God’s redemptive plan. It is furthermore disingenuous to God’s character and the need for the cross. God did not so love the world that He broke His own Law; he so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that all believing in Him should not perish, but have eternal life, in the fulfillment of that Law.