the Spirit Watch
The Trinity Studies:
An Analysis Of Gwen Shamblin's "Essence Of God" Statement
Part 4: "How Did The Jews And Jesus View God?"
by Rafael D. Martinez, Co-Director, Spiritwatch Ministries
HOW DID THE JEWS AND JESUS VIEW GOD?
We will have to give account for our words when the Day of Judgment comes (Matthew 12:36). The writer of the book of Revelation (most likely the Apostle John) says, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city…” (Revelation 22:18). We all know that we are mere men and that we cannot change what God wants taught.
On this point we can certainly agree with Gwen Shamblin. All of us will some day stand before God and give an account to him for the things we say and do in our lives. The great question is whether one will answer to God for his faithfulness to Him as a believer or for his sinful rejection of His truth as a spiritual rebel. As surely as I will face the Creator some day and all that I have done be turned inside outward for Him to plumb the depth of the manner of man I am, no less a sobering destiny awaits Gwen Shamblin. The one certainty of this all is that above her and above me God’s Word stands supreme, unchanged, eternal and forever settled in heaven and earth as the absolute of divine truth about our world and the world to come. His truth will march on. So when Gwen quotes the dire warning of the apostle John in Revelation 22:18 about twisting God’s Word and the terrible wrath and judgment He will bring upon those who do so, she’s acknowledging at least one standard here that I can fully agree upon. And if she isn’t careful and doesn’t speedily repent, I can humbly yet firmly and unequivocally say she stands in the shadows of a judgment that I would not want to be found under.
There are many words, but especially concepts, that are added in this new doctrine: “trinity”, “god-head”, calling God, Jesus and the Spirit of God “persons”. All of these things should raise a red flag. A new word that defines a concept that has already been presented is fine, such as the word “Bible”. The word “Bible” is Latin for “The Book”, which is referencing “The Scriptures”. References to “the scriptures” are found all over the Word of God. We are talking about a new concept that was introduced 325-400 years past Christ and again, the concept is not found in the Bible.
Once more, Shamblin sends forth another salvo of accusations filled with presumption, ignorance, specious reasoning and just enough truth to appear as if entirely plausible and objective. We will see this pattern again and again throughout this article. Let’s break down what she’s getting at here.
Shamblin’s starry-eyed assumption is that there had been a great orthodoxy of Christian practice, teaching and community concerning the doctrines of the faith which had gone on in unbroken perfection since the days of the apostles. This perception, drawn from her Church of Christ roots, is what colors her one-dimensional view of church history. It is a perception drawn straight from a Christian restorationist worldview which Shamblin recasts to suit her own cult-building objectives.
Let’s digress for a moment here. What is restorationism? In short, religious restorationism is the belief that there has been a falling away from the purity and orthodoxy of the first community of any given faith leaving it in dire need of radical change to restore it back to its original state which God intended it to be. This philosophy is a popular one and has been the predominant concept behind much of American religious belief for over two centuries. The Church of Christ was founded by men who passionately embraced this view (as has my own fellowship, the Church of God – Cleveland). Gwen Shamblin was subject to these impulses as well since she was raised in church circles that were confident that their expression of Christian faith was an ordained restoration of God that was the most authentic recovery of lost New Testament church order, doctrine and practice.
With this kind of worldview already in mind, it wasn’t hard for Shamblin to then put her own spin on historical deconstruction and postulate the reality of an apostacy she believed was responsible for the lukewarm and blasphemous elements she sees in the modern Christian church today. The following are excerpts from her “Remnant Basics” tape which researcher Bob Hunter partially transcribed to give greater insight into Shamblin’s about mindset the church’s “apostacy”:
.. what's been going on for a lot of the last 500 years, (is that ) we've had some theologians that have created these, you know, non-choice theologies that have filled our churches and that, these covenants with death - "There's nothing you can do to fall away. There's nothing that you do to even be saved." I mean, the works phobia is just at its zenith right now. So what happens here is God sends prophets to warn the people, but the people don't listen, so God sends destruction .. then He takes a remnant of the people and send them in under this place where they're going to be living in sin, I mean, because they sinned, He's going to send them into exile and into suffering. And that could be a body of obesity, it could be under years of pornography, it could be under alcohol, it could under a miserable marriage, it could be under a bad job situation because of your lack of submission, but it is exile….Then, after years of suffering - this is 5 - God will then call out a remnant who were remained obedient during the exile or that became obedient during the exile .. So He's going to take you out of the countries, out of this pain...and I'm going to refer to Babylon as gonna be these counterfeit churches where people are sitting in there sinning and they're under all this pain because they're sitting in there all the time. Babylon is counterfeit. It's not the place for God's children to be. And so God's gonna be pulling people out and bringing them back their pasture where they'll be fruitful and increase in number.
.. So Remnant Fellowships are about a group of people that want a lordship, and the part of the cycle that I believe that we were in as I went through those is - the cycle that we're living out is where God is gathering up a remnant of people who are obedient .. .We are a people at Remnant Fellowship, we're to be rebuilding His broken walls and His ruined temple and we are going to have to wake up and realize that we have been in Babylon and that these churches that are keeping us in sin represent a counterfeit church. (8, emphasis mine)
We’ll discuss Shamblin’s views of “Babylon” and the “powerful delusion” she believes it to be under as we go, but what I am alluding to is how it shapes her theology. To Shamblin, the “non choice theologies” of “Babylon” are what have infected the post-apostolic church and led into the “bondage” of false doctrine and practice – such as belief in the Trinity, among many others. She elaborates further:
Surely a “triune God” would have been referred to by our Lord Jesus, by the Apostles or by one of the main writers of the New Testament, such as the Apostle Paul. Neither the concept, nor term “god-head”, nor the concept or term “trinity” is found in the sacred scriptures. How can this be denied or ignored? Again, do a word search: there is no reference in the Bible to the word or the concept of “trinity,” for it was never on the lips of our Savior, of any Apostles, nor of any prophets.
Let us first address Shamblin’s idealized fantasy of what she thinks the Christian Church was in New Testament times. After having been in restorationist circles myself for over twenty years, I have heard just about all that can be said about the wistful longing Christians often have for a “return” to the “purity” of the early church. It is one of the most handy oratorical props many preachers easily resort to. They imagine a shining Christianity and a perfect church in the time of the apostles so glorified that the believers had halos over their heads and floated slightly above the dirty streets of the ancient Near East. Such an ideal is suggested by the romantic notions that restorationism has so completely filled our minds’ eyes with, stemming from the belief that we can and must restore to the church to its original “glory.”
The single greatest problem with this notion is that it is based upon a tragic, sad reality: the early church was often hardly the spiritual and moral example we think it should be. The Bible and the writings of the early church fathers make that more than abundantly clear. Even the most casual reading of the Epistles quickly reveals to us how stained the early church was with sin, division, and carnality that restoration idealism doesn’t begin to properly consider. Who can forget Paul’s lamentation of the Corinthian church’s issues ranging from incest to idolatry? The book of James contains some of the most stinging indictments of the carnality of Christians in the church communities of James’ times. The book of Revelation records Jesus’ letters to the seven churches of Asia that detailed their serious shortcomings and even outright compromises. We could go on and on with this, but those references support my contention.
That is one reason why the theme of the overcomer who wins victories is so prominent in New Testament teaching – there was the ever present pressures of the world, the flesh and the devil that beset them. Those who would win the crown of eternal life after a profession and a baptism had to grapple with these and run a life of enduring faith under fire if they were to enter into the unspeakable joy of being in the presence of Jesus after their lives ended. Crosses in life must precede such crowns.
The point I am making is that each time Gwen Shamblin tries to portray Christianity in such black and white terms which assume a massive apostacy (of which the Trinity doctrine was, in her view, a major doctrinal backsliding), she is implicitly making a restorationist-tinged argument to establish her revisionist “cycle” view of church history. This in turn, supports her foundational claim to being God’s chosen prophet out to lead His “remnant” from bondage into the promised land. It is a grotesque pretense she’s deviously established that has no basis in fact whatsoever. And she’s only borrowing a page from other antichristian religious groups, what some call “Bible cults” who are ferally antitrinitarian.
Let’s look at just one Biblical reference from the perspectives of the apostles and the prophets of old to see how unfounded her claim is that the concepts of the God as a Triune Being aren’t found in the pages of Scripture: we'll look at more of these as we continue our studies -
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" He said, "Go and tell this people: "'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.' Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed." (NIV)
Who is speaking to the prophet Isaiah in chapter 6? None other than "the Lord", the great I AM, Yahweh Himself. Note carefully what He says here to him: God commands him to give a very specific message of judgment to rebellious Israel, as those "ever hearing, but never understanding .. ever seeing, but never perceiving."
Over 600 years later, Paul quotes the same verse in his rebuke to the stubborn Jews of Rome who resisted his preaching in the last verses of the book of Acts – and who does Paul say uttered these words?
They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: "The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet: "'Go to this people and say, "You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving." For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'(NIV)
It is the Holy Spirit who is said to have spoken the same words Yahweh uttered in Isaiah 6. The Holy Spirit is God Himself, speaking across time through His chosen prophets. Nothing can be plainer. Without argument or the intrigue of human wiles, God's self-revelation unfolds before us without apology. In the full light of the very Word of God Gwen Shamblin purports to bow before, her rejection of this truth is indefensibly blasphemous.
Yet the Lord isn't threatened by one such as her or any other created being. He shows us that He is the One known among us as the Holy Spirit, the Spirit whom God is (John 4:24). We've seen that the Alpha and Omega in the person of Jesus Christ is God the Son, the Savior of mankind. Shamblin isn't just simply wrong, she's seriously in error. Those who embrace her empty teachings do so at the risk of their eternal destiny. Simply because there is emotional and social bonding at a deep level within the Remnant community which ascribes to her an exalted prophetic status in no way provides a shred of evidence that she knows God on some higher plane than anyone else. Indeed, she is part of the fellowship of the apostates throughout time who have created their own god-figures, their own idolatrous views that cast them in the image they want Him to be – and who are under the shadow of God's judgment.
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