the Spirit Watch
The Trinity Studies:
An Analysis Of Gwen Shamblin's "Essence Of God" Statement
Part 9: "How Did The Jews And Jesus View God?"
by Rafael D. Martinez, Co-Director, Spiritwatch Ministries
This was such an unnecessary concern because many rulers have had sons. No one, however, has ever thought that a king/prince, father/son, or ruler/son line of authority means polytheism. You assume they are one or united in purpose else the Father would have fired him long ago. Everyone has a soul and a spirit – this does not make them two people. Well, in spite of the clear Word of God that Jesus was the only begotten Son - the Council of Nicea came up with the new concept that Jesus and God are the same being. This was a heretical, dangerous, and unnecessary stretch for Christianity. The above creed developed by man between 325 and 415 A.D. (300-400 years past Christ’s death) brought forth this new doctrine that God transformed Himself into multiple personalities, with no scriptures to back this up. How simple (from scriptures) it is to over come this polytheistic dilemma: just because God has a Son, it is still the same kingdom – it is not polytheism. King David had a son, Solomon, that would take over the throne but this is not a new kingdom. Many employers have sons who rise up to right hand management, but it is not two separate businesses. Again, this was an unnecessary doctrine created out of fear of association with the Greek culture of polytheism, especially in the light that no lives were more devoted to one God than the early Christians. The early Christians gave up everything for God and His only Son. The whole concept of Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem is wholehearted devotion to God’s Kingdom, through Jesus Christ His Son.
Only those looking for ways to attack the Trinity doctrine would seek such analogies for arguing against God’s Triune nature as Shamblin does here, regardless of how poor they are. Using her own form of quirky logic, Shamblin uses examples about the quality of father and son relationships to illustrate her own heretical views on God. But she fails to explain how the word pictures she draws about purely natural examples of employers and their sons, princes and kings are supposed to explain this. She highlights the quality of the unity of purpose among these figures as a direct correlation to her view of God’s relationship to His Son. To her, the volitional union of two different persons doesn’t make them one, but demonstrates the supremacy of the elder or senior over the son or the junior. This point must not forgotten, for we see the core of her “authority line” teaching as applied to Shamblin’s view of the Godhead. It also provides insight into her erroneous hermeneutic, or way of interpreting the Bible. This is a most significant detail that irrefutably establishes where Shamblin has seriously departed from the faith and is easily overlooked in her massive document.
Following this “authority line”, there is one God, whose human Son’s total deference to His Father’s authority was of ultimate significance. God has ordained a well-defined power and authority structure in the “true church” modeled entirely from her understanding of the relationship between God and Christ. The Biblical revelation of the Trinity is too much of an intolerable “mystery” set up by the “false teachers” of the third century to undermine God’s Lordship through his “authority line”. She blatantly misrepresents the Trinity teaching whenever referring to it and doesn’t really understand the historic Christian doctrinal position that defines it. But that certainly doesn’t temper her presumption when she continues to claim the only correct understanding of God’s essential being despite its’ blatantly unscriptural position. Therefore, when she encounters Biblical verses that assert Christ’s deity as God the Son, she sidesteps the dilemma they pose to her teaching by reinterpreting them after her own theological biases or ignoring their plain sense altogether, a pattern we’ve seen again and again here.
This is the core error of those who would deny the existence of God’s Triune nature and Shamblin is no different. In rejecting the essential unity of divine personages which Scripture reveals, antitrinitarians have to then provide an explanation for their existence. Inevitably, in some fashion, they ultimately create a hierarchy among the Father, Son and Spirit (remember Him?) that relegates them to individual beings whose unity is in purely along the lines of purpose and will, never in spiritual being. They also redefine the identity and nature of the Godhead, even going so far as to deny their existence and active power in creation. Shamblin’s rejection of the divinity and personality of the Holy Spirit is consistent with her own unbiblical and heretical view that His glorious presence is nothing more than the abstract “will” or “attitude” of God. While she wrote in those infamous e-mails in the summer of 2000 that “as a ministry, we believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit,” she effectively denies who He is and that He even actually exists - a wicked deception bordering very dangerously on blasphemy of Him.
There are 2-3 scriptures that reference Jesus as “God” or Lord of man, and this in reference to His position over us. Jesus was given authority by God as our Savior, Lord, Master and God – but Jesus always referred to His Father as His God. “…My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”(Matthew 27:46) “…I am returning to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God.” (John 20:17) As you can see from these scriptures, Jesus never left us with a mystery. The false teachers of the third century did that. So, this is simple: any reference to Jesus, as God or Father is Christ’s relation and position to mankind. He is the father of the firstborn and He is our God (see Essence of God illustration). Jesus was the firstborn over all creation, was in heaven and then came to earth, and then went back to heaven to sit at the right hand side of God. Immanuel (God with us) lets us know Jesus’ position to mankind – He is our God and we must bow down. Simple; easy. No one should ever feel any pressure from the Scriptures to come up with a new concept to explain why Jesus is our Lord. He is the tried and true, tested all the way to death on a cross, Son of God who has lived out total loyalty to God the Father.
The point here is that it is easy to see the positional scriptures that refer to Jesus as God to mankind (but He still remains the Son of God) (1 Corinthians 15:27), but there is no way to explain away the hundreds of references of Jesus being the Son of God. Anyone can see this.
Shamblin’s citation of “hundreds of references of Jesus being the Son of God” is meant to be a powerful argument against the Triune nature of Jesus and His Father as One. All of the Bible’s references to the Sonship of Jesus should prove, she would argue, that He is an entirely autonomous and separate person from God Himself. But as we’ve already seen, this perspective on God is qualified by her personal “authority line” conviction - not Scripture. Her statement of faith on the RF website once read as follows: "Where I differ on the teaching in the Trinity that there is EQUALITY in power and glory of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit; rather, I believe it is a clear line of AUTHORITY.”
And her “line of authority” concept by default extends to her view of what the Bible says about the relationship of God to Christ. To her, those “positional scriptures” (which she doesn’t list here but which are inferred throughout the document) that identify Jesus as God Incarnate actually refer to Christ’s relationship and position to humanity. His name Immanuel, she has written, “lets us know Jesus’ position to mankind” (even though the verse identifies Jesus as “God with us”). In addition to this profoundly unbiblical qualification, Shamblin further adds that Jesus is the “firstborn of all creation,” explaining that He “was in heaven and then came to earth, and then went back to heaven to sit at the right hand side of God.” This departure of Jesus from the Father as the Anointed One sent from heaven is, in her mind, further proof of His inferiority to God, as well as evidence that they are entirely different, separate beings living in a relational hierarchy over whom God the Father is the One True Lord and God.
Her usage of Matthew 27:46 and John 20:17 is cited to prove this, but upon studying the verses in their context, we see something completely different. The question should fairly be asked: why did Jesus refer to the Father as His “God”? There are two important things that we must bear in mind here: 1) the nature of Jesus himself as both fully divine and human qualify his utterances and 2) the perspective from which He spake additionally clarifies the issue.
First of all, the heart rending cry of Jesus prior to his atoning death in Matthew 27:46 can only be understood in light of the unspeakable and unimaginable agony He was experiencing in his mortal, dying flesh as a human being. Nearing the moments of His death, as He became the Lamb of God and sacrifice for sin (2 Cor. 5:21), Jesus piercingly cried out of His human, mortal agony a direct quote from Psalms 22:1, a Psalm cited as a prophetic foreshadowing of His passion. He personified the terrible pain of the innocent subject there who was suffering unjustly, momentarily losing sight of their trust that God would deliver. It is not Jesus, God the Son who wavers, but His mortally wounded and dying human nature, which He chose to limit himself to, the One who was Everything who made Himself “nothing” by taking on the nature of human servitude (Phil. 2:7).
Also in John 20:17, the victorious chapter where we behold the risen Christ gently admonishing an overwhelmed Mary Magdalene to not clutch him so he might ascend to His Father, Jesus calls the apostles His “brothers” in yet another reference to his identification with them in the context of their human relationships. He is choosing, at the outset of his Resurrection, to ensure that no one forget that His divinity is still clothed in a human identity that glorified and submitted to the God of Israel. Therefore, when He called His Father “His God”, it was to highlight this very fact. In neither of these instances could he have been speaking from the perspective Shamblin insists he was, that of a natural human being who was in all respects inferior and certainly not divine as His Father was.
There is no disagreement between Christianity and Shamblin that God and Jesus are two separate beings. But there is total disagreement between Christianity and Shamblin that they are in a positional hierarchy of being and position; that one is God and the other is merely a man, which is the only conclusion we can reach from Shamblin’s teaching as to how she views Christ. God and Christ are both God. Only their fundamental relationships and distinctions as separate personal beings differ. This is the point at which Shamblin stumbles and seriously errs. But her stubborn devotion to a single minded insistence otherwise, in light of the overwhelming Scriptural evidence to the contrary is what blinds her to these precious truths and emboldens her to blaspheme and mock who He is as the Triune Godhead.
Her own “authority line” arguments quickly bog down under the weight of some very basic questions. Shamblin and Remnant Fellowship members need to consider these long and hard:
1) If Jesus is “God to mankind” as Shamblin teaches, and there is only one true God, the question has to again be asked: what kind of God is Jesus to mankind?
If there are distinct authority line relationships in place as she posits, how are they supposed to explain the relationship between human beings and Jesus? If she claims a firm monotheism affirming the existence of only one supreme Being, how can Jesus be then a “god” to mankind? That would mean there are more than two “true” separate and divine beings in existence and to logically follow where Shamblin’s argument leads us, there are two gods in existence - not one. Would the Father stand for that if He alone was the one true God? How then is Jesus “God to mankind” if Yahweh, the Great I Am is truly “THE GOD”?
2) How do the “positional Scriptures” Shamblin lists illuminate her belief that they define a subordinate relationship of humanity to Jesus Christ as “God to mankind”?
We’ve just looked at two of them above and they plainly teach us much about the humanity of Jesus but say nothing that points us to the claims Shamblin makes here. The Bible teaches that the status of divine Lordship can only be understood in the context of the absolute power of God Himself. God is infinite, immortal and all-powerful while man is finite, mortal and quite powerless. If Jesus Christ is not divine but is instead some manner of exalted human being as Shamblin’s teaching leads us to believe, how can these Scriptures be seen as proof texts that reveal his “godhood” over mankind? He is either God Almighty or He is not. Shamblin’s attempt to play word games will not convince the discerning who can see past this clumsy ploy.
If there’s any truly inscrutable “mystery” here, it lies entirely within Gwen Shamblin’s ill defined views on God and her cryptic and often contradictory beliefs she has expressed here which border on a hideous blasphemy that is sad to behold and yet must be firmly and relentlessly resisted.
So, why was there the push to make God into “water, steam, and ice” in 325 A.D.? It was because a few people could not understand this simple concept of relation. God made Jesus our Master, Lord—but this did not make Him morph into God. Jesus would not consider this. It takes effort to stay confused because this is so simple. My brother is my brother—but his children also call him “father”. Simple. Again read 1 Corinthians 15:27. You can rest assured that any confusing doctrine or anti-authority seeds are planted by Satan. Satan would love to take over God’s power, and if not, diminish His control by spreading the power out. But, Jesus would have none of that, as He was tested in the desert after fasting for 40 days for that very thing. Christ refused to take God’s power to rule, control or manipulate Him. After passing His test, Jesus was then allowed to start His ministry.
Again, we see Shamblin continuing to use human relational understanding as the sole criterion for understanding the relationship between God and Jesus – not the Scriptures themselves – her “authority line” perspective hard at work in an effort to set forth God after her own cherished image of what she believes He should be. If this is not idolatry, I don’t know what the word means. It’s that “simple.”
Her continual anxiety over “anti-authority” seeds as originating from Satanic influence are actually a reflection of her fundamental misunderstanding of the Lordship of Jesus Christ, as seen in her warped take on the temptation of Jesus by Satan in the wilderness. Shamblin’s frightful errors become more and more evident as we go through this. For her, the temptation of Christ was an effort by Satan to lead Him to “take God’s power to rule” – not, as the Scripture shows, an effort to lead Christ to submit Himself to Satan’s perverted desire that he be worshipped by Him.
Since she refuses to admit that Jesus is God the Son, who has all power resident in His divinity, she instead teaches Jesus was being tempted to reach out and usurp the power of God to control Him. This of course would mean that He had no power to begin with and received all of it from His Father – a position that overemphasizes His humanity and completely undercuts His deity, which is just the error she has been emphasizing all along. Her heresy is an old one, traceable back to the false doctrines of Arius and beyond even back to the 1st century by those known as “adoptionists” who thought Jesus to be a human being “adopted” by God’s outpoured Spirit and made “divine” in a very limited way during His human lifetime. She will repeat her version of this hollow philosophical viewpoint over and over throughout much of the rest of her document as we will see. There’s an old saying that if you repeat a lie long enough to people, eventually they’ll start to accept it as truth. That wise proverb unfortunately is all too true, and Shamblin will ride this hobby horse long and hard.
She cites 1 Corinthians 15:27 and this is an important verse we will examine in the next section of the document, but for now, as always, we should be aware that in studying it in the context of the verses before and after it a far different meaning will emerge.
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