Wolves in Shepherd’s Clothing: Arnold Murray

-...inwardly they are ravenous wolves.- (1)

Gentle Reader,

I get that this developing series isn’t cool. It’s not “acceptable” to point out the difference between lies and truth. It’s not “tolerant” to think that there is even such a thing as lies or falseness. “What’s true for you is true for you and what’s true for me is true for me.”

Gag. Eye roll.

Especially gag and eye roll because nobody actually believes that line of garbage. Seriously, nobody does. The second anyone talks about “rights” or appeals to a higher authority, the whole “everything is valid” thing is dead and buried. It’s basic logic. But we don’t live in a logical world.

Neither do we live in a world that can ignore Jesus. Have you noticed that? Every single major religion incorporates Him somehow. Even the most militant of atheists can’t ignore Jesus. He is, without doubt, the single-most confrontational person in all of history. Nobody can push Him aside.

And so, cults.

Shepherd’s Chapel was founded by Arnold Murray (1929-1914). I am currently unable to find a precise founding or start date of the group, but Murray began broadcasting his teaching in 1985. The reason for this secrecy is noted by cult-watch group, Watchman Fellowship:

One possible reason for Murray’s reticence to release biographical or historical information is the apparent misinformation circulated by the Shepherd’s Chapel concerning Murray’s alleged doctorate. Evangelical apologist William Alnor asserts that Murray “falsely claims to have a doctorate degree from a properly accredited university or seminary.” This accusation is well substantiated by the research of B.J. Oropeza in 1991.

Oropeza notes that Murray claimed to receive a doctorate from an individual named Roy Gillespie, after writing a dissertation on the book of Daniel. No evidence of such a dissertation was found in The National Union Catalog or through UMI Microfilms (the primary source for copies of theses and dissertations). The claim of a receptionist for Shepherd’s Chapel (an admittedly dubious source for official statements) that Murray’s dissertation was unavailable because it was being “revised” is additionally problematic: dissertations are not revised after being accepted by the author’s dissertation committee and the office of graduate studies at the conferring institution.

Another receptionist [it is important to note that higher-level officials at Shepherd’s Chapel will not reveal any information about the organization; office workers are thus frequently the only source of information concerning Shepherd’s Chapel] told countercult researcher Tony Pierce that Murray had attended Biola University, a Christian institution in Los Angeles. Biola officials note, however, that there is no record of anyone named Arnold Murray having attended the school. – Shepherd’s Chapel Profile

Any time a group or group leader refuses to communicate honestly is a time for concern. This is, at the very least, a sign of a domineering, controlling atmosphere, and most likely a domineering, controlling leader.

The impossiblity of verifying Murray’s clam brings me up short. I do not understand why anyone would want to listen to someone who has such difficulties with transparency. This seems like classic “don’t trust people who aren’t honest.” Yet he managed to develop a following.

Murray was among those fantastic folks who manage to predict Armageddon/the return of Christ. (You know, those who are always, always, without fail, wrong). He taught that Armageddon would happen in a valley on an Alaskan peninsula (incidentally, my husband grew up on the Kenai Peninsula) on June 8-9, 1985.

Cue crickets chirping.

So guess what? That makes him a false prophet. Sandra Turner, in her work on Mormonism, reminds us that that a prophet must teach correctly about God (Deuteronomy 13) and that whatever the prophet predicts must come to pass (Deuteronomy 18). All prophecy should be absolutely and minutely consistent with Scripture and it should absolutely center on God’s glory. You can’t just, you know, get the math or the setting or the people involved wrong. You can’t shrug your shoulders and be like, “Ooops, my bad.”

Again, why anyone would pay attention to Murray (or others who falsely predict future events) isn’t something I understand.

There really isn’t much else to say about Arnold Murray the person. I tried to listen to a “sermon” of Murray’s, thinking that perhaps he was especially charismatic. While I couldn’t stomach a large portion, the nibble I did ingest left me with an, “Oh.” (And a need for spiritual Pepto). Murray was “plainspoken.” This is, I think, a large part of the draw. For all his flaunting of an alleged advanced degree, Murray presents himself as the “everyman.”

I live in a state where people object to politicians being “too smart” or “too educated.” (Idaho, what is wrong with you?) Many fear or are intimidated by those with greater levels of understanding or experience. (As a woman with a theology degree, I live this out on a daily basis). This is exactly what Murray picked up on and exploited (again, at odds with his claiming a doctorate). He struck a chord that runs deep in the United States; the chord of individualism, rejection of authority and the equality of each person before God. Yet the striking is massively deceptive, as we shall see when we begin to examine some of his teaching. For now, know that this “everyman” enticed other “everypeople” to join him in the realm of “better than.”

False teaching, false prophecy, false humility.

Arnold Murray.

My journey to faith. (15)

For all the posts in the Wolves in Shepherd’s Clothing series, go here.

Note: Murray’s son, Dennis, has taken over leadership of Shepherd’s Chapel. I am unable to find anything about him online. Anyone who reads this and does know about Dennis Murray, please feel free to contact me.


18 thoughts on “Wolves in Shepherd’s Clothing: Arnold Murray

  1. I came across Mr. Murray teachings and I dont get his teaching to a full understending, but I think you have a problem just as the old leaders of Jesus time had. They didnt know from where that (Jesus)cleaver teacher came teaching a powerfull gospel, giving life to death etc… May Good bless you! Un saludo from Honduras C.A.


    1. Thank you for commenting, Edwin.

      With respect, Arnold Murray and the Shepherd’s Chapel group preach a different gospel. The views and understandings that they hold to bear little resemblance to that which was taught by Christ and the apostles. This group is a cult. I hope that you will read the entire series here so that you can see why I make such a statement.

      The truth has been made plain. I pray that you will turn from this aberrant teaching and to the true Gospel. May God bless you as you do so.


  2. Do a study on their main doctrine
    BRITISH ISRAELISM! and if the red flag don’t come up , you have been brainwashed.


  3. So this whole article is:

    1) Some other guy said this guy was horrible!
    2) I’m a woman with a theology degree
    3) I couldn’t watch him or listen to him, that must make him a false preacher!
    4) I’m looking to dig up dirt on these folks, let me know if you guys have any.

    You’re a sad, sad, and very stupid individual. I say that with all the love of a Christian, truly. Maybe you think because you went to college to learn about God, you have all the answers. I’ll pray that you come to your senses and have EARS to HEAR the Word, instead of gossip and slander.

    Have a good trip, foolish woman.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since you couldn’t dismantle the arguments presented in this article (or the series, I am guessing), you chose to engage in personal attack. Awesome. That’s just about the only kind of comment that results in a ban around here.

      Learn to engage in ideas without insulting people.


  4. I have a friend who began preaching all this off-the-wall bizarre theology to me and told me that he was a pupil of the late “Pastor” Murray. He told me Murray stated numerous times that he was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who had been in on the Inchon Landing and at the Chosin Reservoir battle during the Korean War. Since history has shown that we have among us many men who claim to be combat veterans who weren’t even in the military, I requested a copy of Murray’s military records under the FOIA from the National Records & Archives Center in St. Louis. I received a reply advising me that they had no record of Arnold Murray having ever been in the U.S. military much less the U.S. Marines. This told me all I needed to know about Murray. A person who blatantly and publicly lies about being in the military when they were not will lie about anything and in no way can that person be trusted. Unfortunately, he’s dead and can’t be prosecuted for his stolen valor.


    1. Why thank you! Next comment like this and I’ll be sure to block you. Please check my comment policy for details.

      You (and anyone else) are free to disagree with me. You are not free to call me (or anyone else) names on this site.


      1. I’m a convert to Catholicism. I have a relative that follows this guy and his son. Really sad. Are you aware of the origins of the serpent seed doctrine? I’ve tracked it down to the gnostic gospel of Philip and apparently it was pretty popular in the 2nd century. St. Irenaeus apparently refutes the doctrine in his “Against Heresies”. I have yet to read it and see. It was picked back up in 9th century by Jewish mystics (or the Kabbalah) and is still believed today by people that are into the Kabbalah. The first record we have of Christians believing this gnostic heresy again is in the 1700s. A man named Daniel Parker pushed it and after he died it pops up again in the 1900s among Pentecostals.


  5. How can it be proven that anyone has incorrectly predicted any future events? While I don’t agree with Arnold Murray on some of his doctrine, the majority of what he documents in scripture is irrefutable. Why devote time to targeting a dead man who isn’t here to refute any of your assessments?
    Spend more time teaching what you feel is correct doctrine. If it is correct and can be substantiated in scripture, you won’t need to steer people away from supposed deceivers. The truth of the Word itself, will give people the discernment they need. You won’t need to slander a dead man any longer by calling him a deceiver and a liar. Let God be the judge on the day of White Throne Judgement. Unless you want to stand accountable to The Father for this misdeed. God bless.


    1. Well, if the events that the person predicts will happen on a certain date don’t happen, then they are incorrect. 🙂

      Part of the job of teaching correct doctrine is to point out false doctrine. A lot of things masquerade as Christianity. People do get deceived. I wrote this series years ago out of concern for what was happening with members of my family.


  6. I know this is one of your older blog posts but, I enjoyed. The followers of Murray/Shepherd’s Chapel are most difficult to reach outside the scope of any other teacher/pastor who isn’t Arnold Murray or even one of his sons. They support everything about the man even the time he lost his cool on a live study because a man in the audience shouted “blasphemy.” Murray’s response to the man was Murray abruptly pulling a 9mm from his briefcase say, “put this 9mm to that boy.” https://youtu.be/NDSDpGlU1Ec



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