the Spirit Watch
The Trinity Studies:
An Analysis Of Gwen Shamblin's "Essence Of God" Statement
Part 8: "How Did The Jews And Jesus View God?"
by Rafael D. Martinez, Co-Director, Spiritwatch Ministries
God sending a Son or a Savior (Messiah) was not polytheism. His was a very high but subordinate position. Just as John the Baptist spent his entire life pointing to Jesus and making Him known, Jesus spent every waking breath and action pointing to the Father with statements such as: “ ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good-except God alone.’ “ (Mark 10:18); “ ‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.’ “ (John 4:34); “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36); “…the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” (John 14:31) Jesus never thought that He was the Father; if He did – Christ would have been free to let the Apostles know that “new” secret. Satan surely never treated Jesus as God the Father. How absurd to think that God Himself tested Himself against Satan.
Finally, some substance breaks the surface here. This is a significant step forward in understanding Shamblin’s disjointed and contradictory positions on the essence of God. In the opening statement of the paragraph, Shamblin tries hard to establish two things: a denial that the sending forth of the Son from heaven to earth by the Father was a form of polytheism (the belief in two or more gods for worship) and an assertion that God’s Oneness in the context of His interrelationship with Christ renders him to a “very high but subordinate position”.
This is about as lucid she has gotten in trying to explain who Jesus Christ is. Shamblin continues by stating that Jesus’ perfect submission to God’s divine will, upon which Jesus acted, demonstrated complete obedience to His Father’s direction, and this act of subjection proved both a subordinacy of Christ to God as well as an affirmation of their existence as two entirely different beings. We’ve already seen that Shamblin contemptuously rejects the Biblical teachings on both the incarnate divinity of Christ’s dual nature, so when she refers to Christ in a “subordinate” position, the only logical conclusion as that she views Him as a human being and not God whatsoever. And her citations of Mark 10:18 and Matthew 24:36 are meant to provide Scriptural illumination into the life of Christ in which he shows that He “never thought that He was the Father,” and never intended “to let the Apostles know that ‘new’ secret.”
There are great difficulties Shamblin sets herself up for when she tries to assert this view of Christ as Biblical truth. First of all, in light of the Biblical references already reviewed, Jesus Himself has claimed and proved by His mighty works that He is God Incarnate. Gwen studiously avoids any grappling with this stark Biblical reality, and speculation as to why is always fascinating but inconclusive. That alone should arrest anyone concerned with discerning Shamblin’s teaching right there.
Secondly, she again reinforces her erroneous assumption that Trinitarian doctrine on the person of Jesus Christ confuses Him with His Father. But throughout those portions of the document that we’ve studied so far, there is a real lack of evidence that proves she objectively understands what Biblical Trinitarian doctrine even teaches on their distinctions. She simply resorts to the tired old jabs in which she demonizes her homespun caricatures of Christian concepts on the Trinity and resorts to ad hominem attacks on the Christians who uphold it. Name calling is the easiest thing to do in an argument, but it proves nothing. Biblically literate Christians don’t believe the Father is Jesus or vice versa, nor confuse Christ with the Spirit of God. They may not fully understand their relationship one with another, and it is this lack of understanding that Shamblin plainly exploits here to her advantage, using it to create her own wicked distortions of Christian truth on the Trinitarian dimensions of God’s Being.
And worst of all, Shamblin’s identification of who Jesus Christ is remains ill-defined and nebulous. Shamblin describes Him as having a “very high but subordinate position” that “spent every waking breath and action pointing to the Father.” Increasingly, we see that her view of Jesus was that he was a human being powerfully anointed by God as His chosen one, endued with power not of Him, and that he walked in a sinless perfection of life that fulfilled God’s will perfectly. We are aware of Shamblin’s depiction of Jesus as being “the Son of God”, but she doesn’t try to explain the inherent contradictory positions she’s also already taken on His identity.
We will see this much more clearly as we continue our study of this section of her document. For now, it is important to remember that she still is deafeningly silent on just why, as she even concedes, Christians can call Him “God” and “Father.” She even calls allows that Jesus can be even called “Lord,” failing to recognize that in almost every instance Christ is called “Lord” in the New Testament, the Greek word “kurios” from which it is drawn is a plain reference to Old Testament identifications of Yahweh Himself!
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Let’s now look at the verses Shamblin cites which are supposed to prove Christ’s inferiority to the Father: they do anything but provide for her this “proof.”
Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good - except God alone. (NIV)
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.(NIV)
A very simplistic line of reasoning is pressed here by Shamblin: Jesus says only God is good and that only He knows the day of His Son’s return. Therefore, we can see that Jesus really isn’t divine because of his testimony of being inferior to the Father. That reasoning however just simply doesn’t add up. If only the Father knows of the day and hour of the return of Jesus, why should it then be assumed that this proves Jesus isn’t divine? That is an argument drawn totally from silence.
It could well mean that for their own sovereign purposes the Father and Son can both share and withhold information. It is a puzzling and enigmatic reference and why Christ plainly spells it out is unknown. The verse’s reference to Jesus’s sonship could be legitimately interpreted as pointing to his humanity as Son of Man and Son of David (these Biblical references to Christ emphasize his objective and incarnate reality as a human being complete with the physical and mental limitations as all of our kind might have). But there still is nothing here in Christ’s words in Matthew 24:36 that can be construed as proving He wasn’t divine.
In Mark 10:18 as well, Shamblin’s reasoning breaks down completely. If Jesus meant to say He wasn’t “good” in the sense we are to take from the context of the verse (during his challenge to the morality and piety of the rich young ruler), then He had to be harboring some imperfection or moral flaw that would then logically establish him as a sinner. Let this sink in: how could someone not “good” be exalted as “totally obedient” or “perfect”? How could Jesus, if not “good”, be the sinless Lamb of God? Instead of establishing Jesus’ true nature, Shamblin herself sullies it with a most distasteful inconsistency she’s clearly not stopped to consider. That alone should really undercut the twisted sense Shamblin wants us take that Scripture in. We need discuss this no further. Once more, Shamblin’s Scripture twisting is shown as unwarranted and shortsighted.
The scripture reads as follows: “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, ‘I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’“ (Luke 4:5-8) (See also Deuteronomy 6:13). Do you really want to rewrite the Bible to say that God sent Himself to earth to be tempted by Satan to worship Satan and the prize would be the kingdoms of the earth? God already owns the earth and gave the earth to Satan – only Jesus could be tempted with power. Satan wasn’t asking the Creator of the Universe to worship Him! Satan asked the Son of God to worship Him. Satan wants power and He is behind the push to make you think that “Jesus is equal in power to YHWH” because He wants to dilute God’s power.
Shamblin gravely errs, as many do today outside of her cultic sphere of influence, when she sets forth as fact that radical notion that the created order is a possession of Satan’s domain. Nothing could be further from the truth. It has long been a common religious belief that all the world is under the dominant control of Satanic rulership. We’re then supposed to believe that Lucifer’s power was so great that Jesus was somehow only carefully picking His way through the temptation, so as not to disturb this order of things and instead be left wide open to his lures compelling worship of him.
How small both Shamblin and Christians see the Lord Jesus Christ here and in every day life! A great book written years ago by J. B. Phillips was provocatively titled “Your God Is Too Small” and it directly challenged the distorted views of the greatness of God’s infinite glory that so readily circulate through contemporary society. If anything else, Gwen Shamblin’s view – and that of too many Christians – would have us believe that Satan’s power on earth is so vast that God has to elbow His way in to get anything done! But we need not resort to clever book titles or popular aphorisms to help us see the vastly different reality of this – we can go to God’s Word:
The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.(NIV)
How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth! He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet.He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved. Selah
God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.(NIV)
"'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? (NIV)
We could go on and on. Suffice it to say that what we see affirmed here is God’s absolute Lordship over His creation – not Satan’s. God is in control of the nations, the societies of man and all of this planet’s physical stuff is completely under His power. Jesus Christ’s temptation was not coming from an adversary who had any absolute control over the world He was sent into by His Father, but from a foe He himself had created and whom as Creator He had absolute control over. The devil, being the dirty liar he is, could only entice Jesus with deceptive half truths cunningly posed as truth he hoped would lead Him in His weakened human nature to err. Satan, of course, miserably miscalculated again, supposing that his Creator’s Incarnation was going to be another son of man he could lure into spiritual ruin. He found out how utterly mistaken He was at the Cross of Christ when the Resurrection morning dawned, praise God.
There is something vital here we can learn from this which indirectly has relevance to our study. Stemming from this popular notion of Satan being in control of the earth, there is vital point I cannot allow to go observed without comment.
One of the greatest problems of Christianity today is that too many believers who intellectually affirm that Jesus is Lord over all still practically choose to live their lives as if God’s majestic power is afar off, removed and distanced so completely outside their every day affairs. A God-sent spirituality that vitally informs and empowers us to face a world of sorrow, pain and confusion is cut off from us before the water of our baptism dries off our faces. We become so completely caught up in this view and therefore succumb to the fallacy that Satan really is the one to blame in our daily struggles with life because, it is said, he has control of a world that the Bible says is God’s to rule over.
I’m not trying to preach here, since this is a point that becomes fuel for Shamblin’s recruitment engine of persuasion. In living a life lacking an understanding of the Lordship of God in Christ by the Spirit, sadly, Christian conviction then becomes weighed down with doubt, laxity and subsequent carnality. This surfaces in our churches and personal lives when we live self-centered lives that are soon enough bent towards the unclean and the unrighteous. And here again, Remnant opportunism to appeal to the disillusioned believer sickened of this state of affairs they see in themselves and the church gets great traction. Weary of the casual “Christianity” they’ve known, they hear Remnant’s relentless self-promotion and invitations to “come and see” since they are the truly “joyful” and “changed” people God wants them to be.
But the change only amounts to works righteousness and the “joy” comes from the self-centered perspective of being able to comply with Shamblin-mandated codes of contact. It doesn’t seem to matter that there are generations of family relationships and church social circles seriously and aberrantly affected by Remnant member’s resolve to force those around them to comply with their wishes as modeled by Shamblin’s controlling example. That is the modus operandi for most cults who abusively place their doctrinal purity over the personal lives of their members. The Lordship of God in Christ by the Spirit matters nothing to those given over to this kind of mindset, so Shamblin finds an eager audience who readily hear and accept her teaching that the world is controlled and owned by Satan.
The only plausible explanation for mankind to come up with such a creed that made Jesus and God a “triune God” was the fear of being associated with polytheism - which was a concern due to the widespread influence of the Greeks at the time of Christ (Acts 17:16-23). In the midst of polytheism, the Israelites had always proclaimed truthfully that there was but one God. Once Jesus (the Son of God) entered the picture, someone erroneously thought that this might appear “polytheistic”. In other words, they feared that Christianity would not be distinctive, but would look like a “multiple God” religion.
Shamblin’s convoluted views on the nature of God are further presented here. She expresses her unwarranted belief that the doctrine of the Trinity was created by an unknown group of people who she puzzlingly chooses to describe as “mankind.” Then she makes yet another broadly stated assumption about just why the doctrine was formulated: it was created, Shamblin presumes, out of “someone’s” fear that once Jesus “entered the picture” that Greek cultural influence would lead the masses being evangelized to view Him and His Father as two gods. Such a perception couldn’t be tolerated, she asserts, because of the threat of losing Christianity’s distinctive proclamation of the existence and reverence of one true God.Contrary to Gwen’s baseless assumption that the doctrine of the Trinity was a purely human invention, the teaching is a Biblically-based revelation that God has self-disclosed throughout the Old Testament. God’s final Word of self revelation was beheld in the literal Incarnation of Jesus Christ into the world itself. To presume that such a solidly Scriptural teaching is the production of an unknown Christian horror over being associated with Greek polytheism is yet another argument from silence. And Shamblin describes her “explanation” in terms of plausibility, recognizing that the substance to it is purely conjectural. In other words, it fits Shamblin’s biased antitrinitarian worldview, but even she cannot but admit that it is although it appears to merit belief, it is not proven. She can imagine that this is what happened, but there is no proof.
More to follow ..
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