the Spirit Watch
The Trinity Studies:
An Analysis Of Gwen Shamblin's "Essence Of God" Statement
Part 14: "Explaining Mysteries"
by Rafael D. Martinez, Co-Director, Spiritwatch Ministries
People who have questioned trinity teachings in the past and present have sometimes been accused of being “cult leaders” by people whose faulty reasoning are that “cult leaders are people who explain mysteries that our finite minds cannot understand.” This is outlandish and unreasonable and a great persecution to anyone!
Explaining or revealing mysteries by the help of God is not the definition of a cult leader—otherwise, Daniel or Solomon or the Apostle Paul would be accused of leading cults because they explained mysteries of God and Jesus Christ! Daniel 2:47 states, “The king said to Daniel, ‘Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.’
Who these people are that Shamblin refers to and what they actually said that so deeply offends her with their “faulty reasoning” is unknown. It’s hard to respond to this, so I have to make some assumptions here that may or may not be warranted. What seems to rattle her is a charge she claims are made against antitrinitarians that they are cultic because they’ve not only questioned the Trinity teaching but have presumed to reveal “mysteries” about God for others. She loudly protests this charge as “outlandish persecution.
I want to qualify what agreement I have with Gwen Shamblin at this point, because while a certain amount of her outrage at being labeled a cult leader and accused of starting a cult is something we should review, it should also serve as a review of just why the charge still is largely correct. It will touch on why the discernment of the Christian church, which Shamblin hates with a passion, was right in this case.
It certainly is true that the practice of labeling people of differing convictions one as “cultists” is something too easily resorted to by contentious Christians. It can be seen among Christian movements where a spirit of factionalism is so strong that disagreeing parties are viewed as sects or “cults,” thus enabling each one to demonize the other for the sake of some cherished practical or doctrinal difference. The fine lines between them become insurmountable barriers to Christian unity and it is a tragic shame that such realities arise. Such behavior is divisive and carnal and is a lamentable reproach upon the Church and I would agree that to the extent that people are carelessly and insensitively called “cultic” that it truly is both unreasonable and outlandish.
It is possible to disagree with other people in a loving, civil and respectful way that honors and glorifies Christ’s presence and commands (1 Cor. 10:31). Such disagreement over issues of secondary importance that don’t involve the core doctrines of Christian faith is to be done in a honorable way. The command to do so is derived from Scriptural mandates to live in a peaceable and respectful manner with others, even with those who don’t believe as we do – that is what comprises a true ideal of tolerance without compromise. The Bible commands us to “be at peace among yourselves” (1 Th. 5:13 KJV) and also to have laid aside “all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all evil speaking” (1 Peter 2:1 KJV) as believers seeking to please God. Through the course of our interactions with others, we are to “follow peace with all men” (Hebrews 12:14 KJV), a path of civil and respectful discourse and interaction with all people (that includes non-believers as well).
Such a lifestyle marks the truly mature Christian disciple who has a mastery over themselves that exceeds any internal or external pressure to zealously contend for their conviction at any cost. We all know that during the course of life in our fallen world, there will be times in which unreasoning and uncontrolled disagreement escalates and makes this extremely difficult. While Scripture recognizes this, the mandate is clear: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18 KJV).
However it’s important to bear in mind that in light of what these Scriptures teach, Shamblin’s protest against the “persecution” of being identified with cultism won’t help her case.
First of all, Gwen’s erroneous view of the Godhead directly attacks the heart of Christian faith – our concept of God Himself. Her doctrine disconnects both herself and her followers completely from the spiritual common ground where such disagreement can be found: this all but guarantees that civil disagreement will be impossible. The transforming work and abiding presence of the Spirit of God is virtually ignored in her teaching and any of His influence is notably absent in her confrontational dealings with those who disagree with her and her disciples. And with the lack of such a vital emphasis counterfeited by her own “total obedience” dogma, her disciples have been taught to make themselves “holy” with no reference point to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their lives. Left to their own human, carnal way of reasoning and reacting, in which impatience, frustration and defensiveness are unchecked by the fruit of the Spirit they’ve rejected, it is understandable when they become as hard-core hostile as they do when disagreement arises.
Shamblin, therefore, has it wrong when she intones “it’s not about you” when in fact, it really is “all about you” because of one’s need for “total obedience” as she defines it to measure up to her standards. In Remnant’s black and white worldview, anyone associated with the “counterfeit church” is filled with completely immoral and blinded people who are “the enemy.” They are then arrogantly and proudly shunned as unworthy of any further positive regard, let alone honesty or civility. Their reactions range from indignant sadness to out and out red faced fury. This is the bitter fruit that emerges from the members of many cults today and Remnant members are no different, sadly.
Secondly, Gwen’s behavior and attitudes, which she models continually before her Remnant flock during a wide variety of Remnant social circles, are as consistently confrontational and divisive as those shown by other cultic advocates of error. Her very public rejection of the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity has been done in the same harsh, castigating tone used by other antitrinitarian religious movements that are also cultic in nature. Her language not only inflames but incites conflict between Remnant members and those who she demonizes as part of the Hollywood-originated metaphor “Matrix,” those people outside Remnant who are therefore reckoned as spiritually blind and dead. Ample evidence exists that she and her cadre of Remnant leaders personally provide “counsel” to RF members that compels Remnant members to threaten, separate from and shun their own friends and family. I have hundreds of e-mails from family members and ex-members who testify indisputably on this point. Shamblin demands for herself and her “church” a tolerance from others she not only refuses to return but actively undercuts with her own defiling “advice” to women on how to lie to husbands, among other things. What grotesque presumption on her part!
And thirdly, Gwen’s WDW philosophy is supposedly of divine inspiration, as part of “restoration” of a lost truth God is using to save the world. In Gwen’s mind’s eye, He is a “genius God” (a rather dubious title, I might add, implying comparisons with Gwen she might not appreciate) whose almighty wisdom in the creation of human physiology is most visible through hunger/fullness cues in the body. Not surprisingly, she designates them as “God’s boundaries” and focuses her Remnant flock’s attention on these physiological functions for weight loss, which to her is the foundation of her spirituality. Her Remnant flock exalt “this message” in daily litanies to self and in Remnant service testimonials as “the truth” that saved their sinful necks. As I have already said, cults make the same type of claims using the same elitist perspective reckoning themselves on the inside track with God’s doings in the world. I discussed this in my article on Remnant cultism online the Spiritwatch site so I wont belabor the point.
Gwen Shamblin is a cult leader and her antitrinitarianism is at the heart of it, but not all antitrinitarians have gone the way of full-blown cultism as she has. She’ll make these kinds of protests routinely and daily, still refusing to see and unwilling to admit to the fact that Remnant Fellowship has indeed, become another abusive and parasitical sect. Without ever meaning to, the human nature behind it has degenerated into a self-serving enterprise that is out to enslave souls, destroy minds, burden hearts and ruin life in general for those involved with it .. with the best of intentions.
Think about this: if these “cult experts” use their definition to say that my understanding of God, Son, and Spirit is wrong, then they themselves must claim to understand enough to know that I am wrong, so therefore -- by their own definition -- they are the cult leader!
Again, not knowing who speaks of here, I can only assume who are the “cult experts” she chastises here. One thing is for certain: while I was not in Shamblin’s mind when she wrote this document around 2000, I certainly would be now. Published news reports make very clear that she despises the work Spiritwatch Ministries has done to help provide Christian perspective on her cultism, especially the website itself. We’re aware that Remnant operatives have tried to disrupt site traffic routing through search engines with ineffectual attempts to do so. And according to Tedd Anger and Gwen at a special meeting at Remnant camp in 2006, any Remnant member found speaking to me and others like Adam Brooks would be punished “to the fullest extent of Remnant law.” I suspect that draconian bit of “counsel” isn’t something you find mentioned in Remnant promotional materials.
I make no claim to being a “cult expert,” whatever that ill-defined term means, and I further assert to have never claimed, as Gwen does in this document, to have a complete and total understanding of the nature of God, nor his ways. When Yahweh reminds us in Isaiah 55:8-9 that "my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," and that "as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts,” I’m humbled speechless enough to realize I have no way of saying anymore than I do about Him.
But what I have asserted here is what Scripture itself unveils about who God is and the nature of His relationship with the glorious personages of His Son and the Spirit of God – not the cunningly, yet clumsily articulated fables that Shamblin spins about this same grand Subject. And I know enough about Him to be able to say with no reservation that she is largely WRONG about Him. I also know enough about cults to say that while her error, in and of itself, doesn’t make her cultic, it is her carnally manipulative religiosity that does just that. Her self-proclaimed mastery of “the truth” is what has filled her mind with pride and defiled what at one time was a heart that was far closer to Him than the fruit of her teaching would now show.
If these accusers do not understand a mystery, they need to say so.
That’s what Gwen wants to believe so badly, but she’ll not hear it from me. I understand who God is because of who Jesus and the Spirit are. It’s knowledge He’s set forth in Scripture – not I. While I don’t claim to know all mysteries, I certainly know enough about God from what He’s shown about Himself in Scripture which I have already laid out so far in addressing Gwen’s heresy in these studies. While I am a teachable person and can certainly learn from anyone, including Gwen, about things in general, she on the other hand is certainly unqualified to be teaching or preaching about God whatsoever. She’s no prophet in my book, if we must use the popular parlance. I wouldn’t be asking her to explain the mystery about God in my Sunday School class is what I’m saying.
I believe that anyone can understand the Word of God on this subject matter.
That is correct, if they will turn off their computer webcasts, chuck their CD’s and Remnant product line and ask God’s Spirit to become their teacher – not Gwen. For we’ve seen what the Word of God has taught and it doesn’t begin to support the antitrinitarian rhetoric she spouts. Remember, Gwen doesn’t need to plainly spell out that “God told her X” or “He showed me Y” to authenticate her teaching. Her status as a “prophetess” in Remnant provides that high and lofty magisterial position as the great expositor of truth among them. So it is important to remember that in his epistle we just quoted, Alexander highlights for us the apostolic teaching on how the truth claims of Christianity came to be known among us. It is Paul the apostle, not Gwen the dietician, who sets forth how we learn the timeless truth about the Father, His Son and His Gospel and how we are to walk in the Spirit. And he cannot be any blunter when he says what he says about those who preach falsehood in the Christian Church that causes confusion and dissension:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel--which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Galatians 1:6-9 (NIV)
There is no more terrible sin than to twist the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the penalty is nothing less than God’s own unspeakable judgment that will fall upon the head of those who do so. Let me say this another way: the very curse of God is upon those who pervert the Gospel of Jesus by claiming His authority in the preaching of their warped proclamation of it. So a holy fear that should send a sanctified shiver up and down the spine any God-fearing man or woman should grip us any time we share the Gospel. I didn’t write this – Paul the apostle did, whose authority I will respect far more than the pretensive “prophethood” of Shamblin. He then directly calls out these errant preachers by how he received this truth and the motives behind their own twistings:
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:6-12 (NIV)
Gwen makes the same claim of direct revelation from God, but then castigates Christian ministers who have labored selflessly generation after generation to proclaim and preserve the Gospel of Jesus she so grossly perverts. It is sad to see someone positioning themselves in the bullseye of God’s wrath – and equally tragic to have to observe – but that is where Gwen stands. I pray she speedily repent.
From what we have seen in the e-mails and calls that have come to our office since we began sharing this truth about the Father and the Son, it seems that the trinity tradition is what is actually creating the mysteries and misunderstandings about God and Jesus Christ.
It may seem that way to Shamblin’s truncated view of Christianity as seen in her cozy corporate offices. But the misunderstanding or even total lack of teaching on the doctrine of the Trinity can’t be blamed on the doctrine itself. It is the lack of Bible teaching by qualified Christian teachers that has contributed to this problem. Being a Christian education specialist and being intimately involved in Christian education all of my ministerial life, I can affirm that great problem to be true. Most Christians committed to growth and transformation instinctively recognize their need to be fed with Bible doctrine and instruction in Christian life – the problem is that they are being fed with almost anything and everything but the Bible itself. The dearth of Christian education in the Church today is responsible, sadly, for this.
Presently, the mainstream church does not burn dissenters alive, but they certainly do try to burn their reputations at the stake through lies, gossip, and slander. They have no foundational scriptures to back up their argument, so they merely attack the person at the other end of the argument.
This is just more of the emotion-laden accusation Gwen keeps making and we’ve already discussed these points. But what is interesting is her pointing to the need to have “foundational scriptures” for argumentation. In our past studies, we’ve already addressed Gwen’s so-called “Do Scriptures”, which are a collection of Bible verses she uses as proof texts for her admonitions to “do the will of God,” which, in effect her basis for a works-based righteousness in complete opposition to true faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). She has other collections of verses for such things, and in the future, I hope to address these also.
To view my Bible studies on several of the "Do Scriptures" Shamblin twists to make her unbiblical argument, click here to view the forum I've posted them on.
Early in the lives of those brought up in the counterfeit church, the children are taught ritual and creed…and most importantly they are taught that if anyone veers from this broadly accepted man-made creed, then that person is believing a lie or dabbling in heresy. Rather, what should be taught is the 66 books of the Bible, and that if anyone adds to or takes away from God’s Word, that person will be condemned (Revelation 22:18,19). That should bring a deep-seated fear upon someone, whether they debate away the accuracy of the details to undermine your confidence in THE HOLY WORD or they drip seeds of doubt on the inspiration of the Word by offering their own misgivings. As has been said before, 99% of the theologians today have stated they do not believe in the inspiration of THE WORD OF GOD, but they will debate strongly a man-made creed written in 325 A.D.!
This claim, as most all of Shamblin’s other ones, is long on rhetorical fancy but bereft of factuality. Her hatred of the Trinity teaching is so focused upon her contempt for the great creeds of Christianity that have preserved it that she damns them as man-made additions to God’s Word. She even castigates Christian parents for teaching their children these things and warning them that those who teach otherwise are heretical! Gwen’s impudence sinks to new levels. For we would do well to remember that false spiritual leaders – cult leaders - despise sound Christian authority (Jude 8 calls them “dreamers”) and speak evilly of it. This is a perfect example of how free Shamblin thinks she is to then insinuate herself into that role over her followers, and clearly reserve that right for herself. This is arrogant religious pride at its worst, when it seeks to cloak itself in Defender Of The Faith garb.
And then Shamblin claims virtually ALL theologians are on the record that they reject the inspiration of Scripture! Such an outlandish charge certainly is within the realm of possibility, but – as usual – Gwen provides not a shred of proof to this latest of her truly bizarre claims she makes. No names, no seminaries, no evidence is brought forth. We need tarry here no longer at this collection of baseless accusation.
This should throw up red flags all over the place.
It does indeed! Gwen speaks truth clearly here for she is the one from her stronghold in Franklin, who is waving them all. This “Essence Of God” document has been one furious and frenzied effort of red flag waving like few others I’ve ever read.
The counterfeit church has done a thorough job on its victims for they fear the one holding to the Word and questioning man-made ideas. Again, Paul warns us in Colossians 2:8; “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition…” Why would anyone be threatened by examining a human tradition, even one that is generally accepted? I would be more concerned with someone who questioned the inspiration of the Holy Scripture, and there are many such leaders today who actually fall into that category.
If anyone has “done a thorough job” on anyone else, it is Gwen Shamblin, whose endlessly repetitive verbosity has powerfully indoctrinated so many of those who trust her with deeply twisted truth mingled with complete falsehood. In another moment of feigned candor, she quotes Paul’s warning in Colossians as if to say that the teaching of the Trinity is an example of the “hollow and deceptive philosophy” of false religion. Her disciples are seemingly incapable of understanding that her diet-oriented traditions are what she has elevated as divine revelation and who therefore defend it as if it was infallible truth from on high.
Not surprisingly, then, that whenever discerning Christians question her teaching, her Remnant flock loudly protests, raves and scorns them. Where they can, they terrify and intimidate their own family and friends with fits of rage or peals of emotionalism. This speaks volumes about just how threatened Gwen and her flock feels when their baseless theology is confronted by real challenges they cannot answer. They simply bluster through it with emotion-laden outbursts that avoid any real discussion.
Not long ago, I had an opportunity to walk through the visitor side of Notre Dame in Paris during mass, and not once was the Bible opened by priest or member. In fact, from what I could see, not one member had a Bible in his hand. This reversal of sacredness (man-made creeds vs. the Word) is the foundation for the Counterfeit Church (see the New Jerusalem document on the Remnant Fellowship website; www.remnantfellowship.org), and this reversal is most necessary if you are going to bring the victims to their complete demise. There were incense sensors and the Eucharist at the mass, but out of thousands in attendance, there was no confession of sin, no repentance, and no fear of not opening God’s Word.
Apparently, Gwen went to be a spectator along with other tourists who wanted to see the majestic Gothic splendor of Notre Dame. She came in to passively and casually observe Roman Catholics seeking God according to their own tradition. She came away with her own conclusions that were informed by her own biases and convictions. While one may ask serious questions of Roman Catholic tradition (as I did while I was raised in it before I came to faith in Christ in 1981), there is a glaring point Shamblin’s ignorance completely overlooks.
Contrary to what she says, there were portions of the Mass celebrated right before her in which the Roman Catholic congregation sought forgiveness from God through the rites of penitential prayer (the Confiteor is one well known prayer) as well as exhortations to examine their consciences and hearts before receiving the Eucharist. This is done in virtually every contemporary Mass celebrated among Roman Catholics worldwide. Shamblin might need to work on her understanding of French, perhaps, but I doubt it would have helped. In her self-deluded mind, she refuses to concede that anyone outside of her Remnant bubble can share concerns about God, sin and righteousness whatsoever.
These solemn moments in the Mass are when millions of Roman Catholics sincerely seek God’s grace for personal renewal. I remember them well and the enjoining to ensure we were pure before God when going to receive the Eucharist. No Roman Catholic paying even half-attention in church can fail to recall this. While there is so very much I can say at this point about this, my discussion would go completely outside the scope of this study. What we would do well to observe is that Gwen’s refusal to accurately represent the Mass’ liturgy or the piety of those Roman Catholics present is part of her pattern of the twisting of things to suit her perspective. She simply shows how ignorant she really is about the diversity of faith tradition and what it intends to do, regardless whether or not there is agreement on it. It’s much easier to demonize than to understand.
But for all of her observations about how her Remnant flocks carry their Bibles to Remnant services, what good does it really do for them? When Remnant tradition communicated through Remnant media becomes their interpreter of Scripture, and not the Holy Spirit Himself as they study it, they substitute one form of whatever idolatry they profess to have been freed from for another far more darker one. They may fly through a dozen lengthy passages of Scripture in an hour-long talk, but when they have all been redefined, misquoted, taken out of context and twisted in one way or another, what “truth” have they gained? Although I have serious differences with Catholicism over which I broke away from it, I would easily get more out of the traditions of the Roman Catholic Mass that would spiritually edify me than any Remnant gathering focused upon the rambling diatribes of a self-aggrandizing blond Tennessean woman.
I couldn’t believe it! The Word of God is my life and light for the right path!
After considering the “right path” Gwen Shamblin commends to us, a Scripture comes to mind:
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 16:25 (KJV)
That is precisely where Gwen’s path leads – not the way to life.
I cannot go one day without searching the Word and then searching my heart to see if what I am doing and saying is lining up with the Cornerstone and the Capstone of Jesus Christ. We cannot afford in our few short years to just “guess” at what God wants from us. The true church will turn you from your sin and you will feel a fear of ever going against the will of the Father, and you will be surrounded by the Word of God and by people who want the Word of God more than their daily bread (Job 23:12).
Shamblin may actually “search” the Word daily, and as we all know, she supposedly wakes up during the middle of the night to “search” for God also, and advocates others to do so. It has, in fact, become a mark of Remnant conformity to Gwen’s piety to expect that people will also deprive themselves of sleep to do the same thing. But if their search for God incorporates the same kind of terribly unbiblical twisting we’ve seen demonstrated here, they won’t find the Triune God of Scripture, but instead model themselves after the skewed version of “total obedience” of the Remnant image of Jesus. Being surrounded by people who completely buy into this corrupt spirituality and the social circles controlled by it, such well meaning yet misguided people would find themselves presented with no other alternative perspective and would readily accept these admonitions.
What’s so sad is that I am certain that most, if not all of the Remnant rank and file have experienced enough disillusionment during contentions with carnal Christians at their worst that has convinced them there really IS no other “pure” fellowship. As I’ve pointed out in the past, these same encounters with such ungodliness among the “godly” has certainly contributed to the deceptive power of Shamblin and helped convince them of the validity of her “truth.” Factor in the general lack of spiritually vital direction and conviction that cripples many other churches as well, not to mention the worldliness encroaching into Christian church culture in general, and Shamblin’s cancerous “message” is ensured a growth medium.
All of these lamentable stains on the robes of the Christian Church today are legitimate sins that have offended many, as our Lord has pointed out, at the cost of their spiritual vitality and at the pain of His divine judgment and outrage He voices in Matthew 18:6
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! (KJV)Throughout the history of Christianity are innumerable instances in which such sinfulness on the part of “Christians” played a major part in thrusting away many sincere believers whose passion for God was squelched. But as painfully real as this is, what is far more grievous is to know that it is at this juncture that false teachers like Shamblin and others are at their most deceptive. It is then that they truly seem like the prophets they want to be seen as to the hurting and confused – and launch many a cult.
In our next and final article, we will conclude the Trinity series and offer some closing observations.
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