the Spirit Watch
The Trinity Studies:
An Analysis Of Gwen Shamblin's "Essence Of God" Statement
Part 12: "God Gave His Son, Not Himself / Jesus Gave His Life"
"How The Trinity Became Entrenched"
by Rafael D. Martinez, Co-Director, Spiritwatch Ministries
GOD GAVE HIS SON, NOT HIMSELF/ JESUS GAVE HIS LIFE
Jesus spent His life declaring that He was the Son of God. Some say this is too clear of a concept to be divine. How impertinent to muddy up something that God wanted to make clear! He gave us children on earth so that we could even understand the concept of giving up a child, which, by the way, is harder to do than giving up your own life. There is no greater pain than losing a child. Many have had to experience this, including me. I cried for no less than 8 months, and I still become teary-eyed when I think of this loss. To believe that God incarnated Himself and gave up Himself completely misses the ultimate love. Obviously, right next to this is giving up your own life for others.
Gwen’s complaint about clarity is a hollow one, seeing how it originates out of the heart and mind of a woman who for all of her religiosity has completely missed the heart of Christianity. All true faith in God begins and ends in Jesus Christ as both Son of God and God the Son. This is what Jesus lived, died and rose again to manifest before all mankind so clearly. If there is any impertinence to be found here, it has long ago in this document been established by careful study of her own presumptuous teaching. We see it in her addled logic, twisting of Scripture, inexhaustible will and ability to spin and redefine Biblical terminology and a stubborn determination to cling to her own traditions at the expense of Biblical truth.
But what makes this brief and poignant objection so memorable is how Gwen now delivers an unexpected and purely emotional thrust at the heart in her quest to establish her false doctrine. It is perhaps the most impacting and piteously heartfelt personal objection to the Trinity. She offers a purely emotional objection to the Triune revelation of Jesus as God Incarnate that is somehow connected to the loss of one of her children through miscarriage. Her understandable personal sorrow and loss seems to be so painful that at some deep emotional level, she cannot quite grasp nor be willing enough to consider how the giving of the Son of God for mankind could convey any kind of message of God’s love.
I am a minister and unexpected and terrible tragedies such as the loss of a child are part of the human condition I have ministered to people through. It is never easy and among some of the most agonizingly and crushing losses to deal with. I fully understand just how frequent and almost expected it is to miss a big picture of life for the cherished little portrait of a beautiful boy or girl suddenly framed forever by an unexpected death. And I certainly can mourn with anyone who can experience a loss such as this also for two of my own sisters-in-law both have experienced that certainly overwhelming loss also. I know how deeply and painfully these losses of these two little ones were to our families, but especially for their parents who took the news so terribly hard.
But while I can sympathize with such deeply felt personal pain for Gwen’s tragic loss of her child, the emotional overflow, grief and aftermath she – or I - may experience can never change the truth of Scripture. It is precisely at that juncture of parental empathy that both God and man do indeed connect: it is there that we see the love of God so freely given to us in the giving of Jesus Christ by His Father to be our sacrifice for sin. Once again, Shamblin makes her accusation that Trinitarians believe the Father died on the cross because of her inability or willful rebellion to perceive His Son as no less divine. His humanity as son of David, the Nazarene carpenter, is what died sacrificially there - but He is very much alive forevermore! Death’s sting has been pulled and the Scripture admonishes us to grieve, but not as ones without hope. Because He lives, as the old Gaither song went, I can face tommorrow and all fear is gone. That victory at Calvary and the empty tomb over sin, death and the grave assures us of a hope beyond our grief. It is found through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son, God Incarnate.
One striking note to make here is how once again Shamblin is found completely silent upon just how significant the Cross and the Empty Tomb are to Christian faith. It is always lamentable to hear the claims of someone who thinks they walk so perfectly with God through Christ and who completely misses the whole point of why He came. But this omission is not only understandable but intentional. Sadly, it comes about because Gwen Shamblin, a woman who has strayed so very far from the Christian faith, is so blinded to that hope. Her trust of her eternal soul has instead been placed in her commitment to “change.” Instead of the transformative power of faith in Christ, she impudently pushes a fanciful “authority line” belief and her peculiar convictions about self-denial of food, bodily cues of hunger/fullness and a moral code that range from strict discipline of children to reliance on body-fat percentiles and arbitrarily designated target weights. Say what she might, however, the Cross and the Empty Tombe are the greatest proof of God’s love for all of man that is found in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, His Atonement at Calvary and His Resurrection three days and nights later.
Gwen may wipe a tear or two away at this point over her loss and maybe her inability to understand God’s love sent giftwrapped in a newborn baby boy and I’m all too ready to grieve with her. But I do shed a few more over how swiftly she has abandoned this One in whom all Love is embodied. The “Jesus” she points us to is “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4) who is not the Lord of glory. Shamblin cannot escape the indictment this will certainly bring upon her unless she speedily repent. She will indeed bow her knees before His Throne in that Day of Judgment that all of us shall face. And how out of the Throne Room I want to be in that day! “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrew 10:31 (NKJV)
HOW THE TRINITY BECAME ENTRENCHED
The trinity doctrine wrongly teaches that God incarnated Himself and came down as Jesus and then ascended back to the throne, and all that you will see when you get to Heaven is God the Father or a Spirit. We know that this teaching is heretical and defies the Bible’s clear teaching that God is the Father, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that the Spirit of God is the Spirit of God and that the “Spirit of Christ” is the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9; 1 Cor. 2:10,11). When Stephen was martyred, the “heavens opened and he saw Jesus sitting at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55; Christ seated at right hand side of God also in Luke 22:69; Ephesians 1:20 and Colossians 3:1). People who disagree with parts of the trinity statement need to stand up and confess that they do not uphold the traditional trinity doctrine; they should boldly admit that they believe differently. After all, you are not to fear man, but God alone. It is well documented that early critics of the trinity statements were burned at the stake for disagreeing and also so they could serve as an example to the quieter dissenters. The creed of the trinity was recited in worship each week, and it was easy to recognize the protester who would not open his mouth to recite the creed. All were banished or severely tortured or burned at the stake.
True to form, Gwen once again distorts what Trinitarian Christian faith asserts: she continues to insist that it confuses the Father and the Son and leaves only “God the Father or a Spirit.” We don’t need to respond to that other than to note that this is part of her conversational pattern. We’ve more than amply seen what the Trinity teaches and don’t need to repeat ourselves.
But Gwen Shamblin now cunningly shifts her document’s focus slightly as she seeks to explain how the doctrine of the Trinity became “entrenched” in the Christian culture that developed. She comes off as sounding like a defender of the “true faith” of Christianity by enunciating “clear teaching” on the nature of God while castigating Trinitarian doctrine as heretical. This canard, as we know, is indeed quite a ploy: the falsehood defended and upheld by Shamblin is her antitrinitarianism. Then she cites the testimony of Stephen at his martyrdom as having paid the ultimate cost for the sake of the truth about Jesus and uses it cleverly to draw another proverbial line in the sand for her followers. “You are not to fear man, but God alone,” she piously and solemnly intones, and adjures the true believers in her flock to “boldly admit” that they have rejected the Trinity doctrine no matter what it may cost them as well. To underscore this, she again paints another brightly colored word picture of fiery persecution in which it is “early critics” of the Trinity statements “were burned at the stake” for their dissent from it.
This hasn’t been lost on RF members who understand what they’re being told they must to do to prove their faith and that being to find ways to confront Christians with their rejection of the Trinity doctrine. I know of one former RF member who was working for a Christian ministry at the time she and her two teen age children were recruited into Remnant. She felt compelled to make a major issue of her intentional and vocal repudiation of the ministry’s Trinitarian statement of faith as she left it. Where there was one such case there are very likely others, and that is precisely the kind of leaven Shamblin’s example compels of her followers. Truth is at stake here, Gwen would cry, as she bolsters a “resistance” to the “counterfeit church” she feels has enchanted billions with false doctrine and which also plans a campaign to wipe dissenters off the face of the map.
We’ve already mentioned the fact that for this kind of “persecution” to have occurred as Shamblin sets forth, the Roman Empire would had to have been totally controlled by a monstrously corrupt church bent on eradication of rivals through the sword. I note again that Shamblin’s accusation is again bereft of any actual documentation in respect to antitrinitarians being burnt alive by Trinitarians. However, ample evidence exists that shows just how “powerful” the church was. While it wielded enormous cultural influence through its upholding of social and spiritual principles based upon the Gospel and admittedly made many inroads into Roman government, it was hardly the church-state juggernaut it would become several centuries later. An account of the beginning of the Roman emperor Galerius’s institution of the persecution of the Christian Church in the 3rd century, as recorded by the Christian teacher Lactantius, is a glimpse of just how the opposite was the true:
.. He began by forcing his daughter Valeria and his wife Prisca to be polluted by sacrificing. Eunuchs, once the most powerful, and who had chief authority at court and with the emperor, were slain. Presbyters and other officers of the Church were seized, without evidence by witnesses or confession, condemned, and together with their families led to execution. In burning alive, no distinction of sex or age was regarded; and because of their great multitude, they were not burnt one after another, but a herd of them were encircled with the same fire; and servants, having millstones tied about their necks, were cast into the sea. Nor was the persecution less grievous on the rest of the people of God; for the judges, dispersed through all the temples, sought to compel every one to sacrifice. The prisons were crowded; tortures, hitherto unheard of, were invented; and lest justice should be inadvertently administered to a Christian, altars were placed in the courts of justice, hard by the tribunal, that every litigant might offer incense before his cause could be heard. Thus judges were no otherwise approached than divinities. (11)
This was the last and the worst persecution the Christian Church would face in the Roman Empire. Throughout the first three centuries of its existence, Christianity enjoyed seasons of peace and prosperity in which it was possible to proclaim and spread the Gospel through church-based piety and outreach. That was how Christianity was able to flower in the face of a hostile culture and even penetrate it to the point that government leaders and even the family of the Roman Emperors called Jesus “Lord.” But firestorms of persecution would break that peace at various times and intensity and this one was by far the worst. It ran from 303 to 305 AD. Perhaps 40,000 Christians faced imprisonment, torture and death for being found to be professing Christians during this one.
But I know of no record anywhere in any pagan or Christian account of these horrible years that the issue of faith in the Trinity was upheld as a spiritual litmus test by Roman temporal power on the behalf of the Church the failure of which was punishable by torture an death. That is a claim for Gwen Shamblin and other antitrinitarians can only make but have yet to prove. The Christian church’s cultural influence was widespread at many levels of society and while there is documentable evidence that Roman government did intervene sporadically in issues related to religious belief, it was never a norm. The great persecutions came about as a reaction of infuriated pagans who saw Christian faith as a threat to the social order and in defiance of their own state religion’s claims to emperor-divinity. There’s so much more that can be said about this: the point simply is that secular and church histories both attest to that the Christian church never wielded a temporal power so great that it could, at will, initiated blood-letting persecution against the doctrinally unorthodox who in its’ pews and pulpits.
Still, Gwen, thinking she’s found a bandwagon to ride, saddles up on it and pushes this angle for all that she can get out it to fuel her pseudo argumentation:
All people who supported the true Biblical view of God died off or became “chicken”, leaving behind a zombie-like and compliant congregate that would not question the essence of God for the next 1500 years…with the exception of a few. I have found that most who profess to be a “Trinitarian” cannot actually explain what they believe, meaning that they do not really know what they believe or what their leadership teaches. Presently, some denominations teach that Jesus and God are the same “person,” while others say “separate beings” who are still one – never making that clear. You cannot have it both ways. So as not to divide the congregation, most leaders become diplomats and say that it is thereby a “mystery” and “no human will ever really know the truth.”
As previously noted, Gwen’s argument is from an alternate perspective of church history, namely her own, in which “great historical cycles” of apostacy and restoration from true faith in God have swept mankind. It is no secret here, of course, that she believes Remnant Fellowship to be the last day restoration of “mere Christianity” after the backsliding of the Reformation’s children in the mid 1500’s. Shamblin also then seizes upon both the uncertainty of many Christians over their understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity and the plain fact that there are religious organizations with differing views on the Trinity to make her point here. These groups are primarily Oneness Pentecostal/Apostolic groups as well as the well known cults of Christianity, the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
But regardless who they are, it still begs the question: how does it follow that those whom Shamblin claims to have spoken to who are Trinitarian but cannot explain what they believe are somehow a representative population for all Christians everywhere? How can Gwen, in other words, conclude that uncertainty about the Trinity among some believers is proof that the doctrine is wrong or unbiblical? It’s just yet another wild leap of unwarranted presumption Gwen makes that is as durable as a snowman in a sauna. The same thing can be said about her cynical criticism of churches where compromise on the Godhead were announced by its leaders to bring peace to factions taking opposing views on it. That this may happen is certainly plausible and that instances of this actually occurring likely cannot be dismissed.
But again, the question must be asked - if so, what does it prove? That the doctrine is wrong? It only shows that there are instances in which church leaders who were willing to make compromises that only betrayed their lack of dedication to what was true. None of these examples begins to address the most fundamental question of all - is the doctrine of the Trinity true? Scripture answers this in the affirmative and not the negative, as Shamblin would have us believe.
This unexplainable doctrine now allows multiple beliefs under one roof -- as long as they claim to be a “Trinitarian” since it has become a centrally accepted creed by mainstream Christianity. Therefore, most members have blindly accepted this “trinity teaching,” and it became very widespread and has been offered to members without question for over 1,500 years. Yes, at one time, people were burned at the stake for holding strong to the teachings that were actually in the Bible, but today you are free to believe what you want and state it…and perhaps you will undergo only verbal criticism (from man, not God) for thinking on your own. But the people who have not sought God out on this entire issue will undergo criticism from God – not man!
If the scripture is our ultimate authority, we can reason together. But if you hold what your minister or preacher or pastor says as higher than God’s Word, then man is your source and numbers of men are your confirmation -- and this will not hold up on Judgment Day. The Word of God easily dispels the trinity teaching, and it is frightening that such a teaching has been swallowed by this generation without question when Bibles are so readily available. God will be much more forgiving of those back in the 3rd and 4th centuries who were illiterate or without the translated Word of God at all.
I couldn’t help but smile when I read this, for it is abundantly clear by now that Scripture is not Gwen Shamblin’s ultimate authority whatsoever. In Gwen’s own mind and among her Remnant hothouse, she is the unquestioned source of ultimate truth - not Scripture. Her approach to the Bible is to reel off verse after verse about judgment and holiness and idolatry in discourses loosely connected by her own rambling moralistic convictions drawn from personal experience, not the Word of God. That is why she cannot abide any real discussion on these issues with anyone who might dare to question them - because behind her glittering façade of “The Message,” there is smoke and mirrors alone. She appears unwilling or unable to handle objective truth honestly, let alone substantial dialogue with those who take an opposing position on it.
So the question of “reasoning together” is rather moot. It sounds deceptively conciliatory. She is clearly bandstanding and trying to sound objective. I would love to sit down and reason with Gwen with nothing but a Bible between us, but since she has pretty much dismissed me and all who would disagree with her as agents of Satan, I doubt she’s in any kind of reasonable, irenic frame of mind. Anyone who sanctions prayers by her church elders for the “death angel” to visit their “enemies” is someone who isn’t being led by the Spirit of God, to say the least. Click here to hear this prayer from a 4/13/05 RF webcast in Real Audio in its entirety for context.
Far from dispelling the teaching on the Trinity, the Bible more than amply supports it. Contrary to her objection that the concept isn’t found in Scripture as well as the actual term, the truth is clearly revealed there. Christians who stand upon God’s Word have always known that whatever any preacher, church or creed might say is fully subject to Biblical truth. Simply because there are Christians who do simply trust what their preachers and churches say about the Trinity without ever fully grasping what is graspable about it doesn’t prove they are doing so as if believing them to have an authority greater than Scripture. That’s a presumptuous guilt trip we’ve come to expect from Shamblin’s scurrilous tongue. Far more believers with open yet discerning minds and open Bibles have weighed Shamblin’s wholesale rejection of the Trinity and have found it wanting. They have esteemed His Word as superior to her own crafty deception. That is why she is left alone with her 1500 member sect after once having the ear of hundreds of thousands and the attention of millions.
The Bible says there is One God, whom we may call Father. The Bible says Jesus is God, God the Son. The Bible says the Holy Spirit is God as well. All are revealed as the same One God eternally existent in their three distinctive identities and persons. The great theologian B.B. Warfield, one of the most eminent Christian exegetes of the 20th century had this thoughtful comment about the Bible’s revelation of the Trinity:
.. The doctrine of the Trinity is given to us in Scripture, not in formulated definition, but in fragmentary allusions; when we assemble the disjecta membra into their organic unity, we are not passing from Scripture, but entering more thoroughly into the meaning of Scripture. We may state the doctrine in technical terms, supplied by philosophical reflection; but the doctrine stated is a genuinely Scriptural doctrine. (12)
(11) Ante Nicene Fathers, volume 8, p. 310
Go To The Next Article Back To The Spiritwatch Home Page