Is God a Law-Breaker?

Furtick’s claim that “God broke the law for love” is laden with at least 9 serious errors

Let’s keep this simple. Sin is fundamentally lawlessness. It is breaking God’s law. Declaring that God broke the law is to declare that he is a sinner. But so great is God’s hatred for sin (law breaking) that it required the death of his Son for sinners to be saved. So, to say that “God broke the law” in order to be edgy or creative or pithy does not change the fact that the statement is the basest sort of blasphemy. That Pastor Stephen did not intend to blaspheme (and I believe he did not intend it) does not change the fact that his statement is blasphemous.

 
Steven Furtick, pastor of the Southern Baptist Mega-Church Elevation Church is no stranger to controversy. His image features prominently in his church beginning with coloring pages provided to the children. The members of Elevation Church are told to “follow the visionary.” Furtick is also a well-known fan of false teacher T.D. Jakes (Elevation has hosted Bishop Jakes and Furtick has preached at Jakes’ church). Last year Pastor Steven, as he is known around Elevation, got into a bit of hot water when it was revealed that he was building a 16,000 square foot mansion in an exclusive gated enclave. Furtick’s fusion of revivalistic, soft-prosperity, self-help preaching is regularly punctuated by the slap of drums and grind of the Hammond Organ. All of this along with his seemingly constant experimentation with his personal appearance has made Elevation Church one of the largest churches in the Southern Baptist stable.

Pastor Steven made a bold statement in a recent sermon entitled “It Works Both Ways.” Specifically, Furtick said, “God broke the law for love.” The point he seemed intent on making is that in order to love us God had to break his own law. It’s just the sort of thing that broadly evangelical Americans love; the sort of statement that portrays me as so irresistible, so awesome, so valuable that God would break his own law just to have me.

Furtick’s claim that “God broke the law for love” is laden with at least 9 serious errors:

1. It declares God to be a sinner.
Let’s keep this simple. Sin is fundamentally lawlessness. It is breaking God’s law. Declaring that God broke the law is to declare that he is a sinner. But so great is God’s hatred for sin (law breaking) that it required the death of his Son for sinners to be saved. So, to say that “God broke the law” in order to be edgy or creative or pithy does not change the fact that the statement is the basest sort of blasphemy. That Pastor Stephen did not intend to blaspheme (and I believe he did not intend it) does not change the fact that his statement is blasphemous. What makes a statement blasphemous is not the intent of the speaker but the content of the words.

2. It diminishes the righteousness of God.
In the most general sense, righteousness means conformity to a given standard. As sovereign creator, God is the author and upholder of the right. That is, God has determined what is right and what is wrong. His standard of righteousness is impeccable in its morality and goodness. And as a righteous God he will not act in a way that is inconsistent with his own righteous standard. This is not because the standard holds sway over God but because that standard of righteousness is a reflection of the moral perfections. God’s law is the expression of his righteousness. Sin, therefore, is a transgression of the law of God. God is without sin. This is fundamental to God’s own nature. Therefore, if God is a sinner, if God transgresses the law then he becomes what his fallen creatures are. A law-breaking God is by definition an unrighteous God. (Gen 18:25; Ex 9:27; 1 Sam 12:7; 2 Chron 12:6; Neh 9:33; Job 37:23; Ps 7:11; 9:4; 11:7; 119:62, 106, 137-138; Hos 14:9; Rom 1:16-17, 33; 1 Peter 3:8; 1 John 2:1; Rev 15:4)

3. It diminishes the justice of God.
God’s justice and righteousness are closely related. In fact the basic words for righteousness and justice come from the same word group in Hebrew. That God is just means that he never does the wrong thing. God has established his own moral code within the universe. Among other things, that means that it is always wrong to break the law of God. So, when God exercises mercy it is never the result of his doing what is unjust. That is God never breaks the law in order to love any of his human creatures.

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