Vol. 8, No. 3
Since You Asked
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Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.
Per your request to "let me know" respecting the material and teachings of Arnold Murray and his Shepherd's Chapel, the following is respectfully and prayerfully submitted for your consideration. While it is assumed that every religious group and its leaders professing Christianity would teach some biblical truth, often erroneous teaching amounts to preaching another Jesus, another spirit and another Gospel (2 Corinthians 11:4). The observations below are not intended to fully analyze every religious teaching of Arnold Murray or Shepherd's Chapel, were that even possible. However, sufficient information following does present enough evidence to ascertain whether Arnold Murray and Shepherd's Chapel are true to the Holy Bible (1 John 4:1-3).
Premillennialism: Arnold Murray erroneously teaches premillennialism by misusing Scripture and teaching what is not taught in the Bible. "We believe in the literal return of Jesus Christ (Zechariah 14:4; Acts 1:9-14) when He shall take the Throne of David (Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:32-33) and rule on earth for the prophetic thousand years known as the millennium (Revelation 20:4 Zechariah 14:9)" (www.shepherdschapel.com/statement1.htm). Acts 1:9-11 records the Ascension of Jesus Christ and angels tell that his Second Coming will resemble his Ascension (i.e., clouds concealed him in his Ascension and clouds would reveal Jesus upon his return). Isaiah 9:6-7 and Luke 1:32-33 teach that Jesus Christ will reign on the throne of David, but premillennialists erroneously conclude that means on a literal throne, in literal, earthly Jerusalem. Zechariah 6:13 prophesies that Jesus Christ will be priest and king at the same time. Yet, Hebrews 7:12-17 and Hebrews 8:4 clearly teach that Jesus Christ cannot be a priest on earth. Therefore, since Jesus Christ will be priest and king at the same time, but he cannot be a priest on earth, neither can Jesus Christ be a king on earth. Premillennialists ignore also that the Lord's kingdom is spiritual rather than physical and earthly; "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence" (John 18:36). Premillennialists ignore also that the church and the kingdom refer to the same spiritual institution (Matthew 16:18-19; cf. "body" Ephesians 1:22-23; "house" 1 Timothy 3:15, etc.). Premillennialists ignore also that the church or kingdom exists already and has since the first century (Colossians 1:13; Revelation 1:9). Jesus is King now over that kingdom and will give the kingdom to the Father at the Second Coming; precisely when premillennialists mistakenly believe that Jesus will begin to rule as King is when he stops ruling as King (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). The figurative language of Zechariah and Revelation cannot be interpreted properly by causing it to contradict plain teaching in the Bible.
Error equating the Sabbath to Jesus Christ: "We believe Christ became our Sabbath (Hebrew 4:8; Colossians 2:16-17). (Hebrew 4:9- There remaineth therefore a rest (Gr. Sabbatismos) to the people of God)" (www.shepherdschapel.com/statement2.htm). A serious Bible student would not have made the error Arnold Murray made with Hebrews 4:8 in supposing that the word "Jesus" in that verse refers to Jesus Christ. The context of Hebrews 4:8 as well as most if not all English translations of that verse besides the KJV translate "Joshua" instead of "Jesus." The names "Jesus" and "Joshua" are the same name respectively in Greek and Hebrew. The "rest" of Hebrews 4 refers to heaven, not Jesus, and stands in contrast to Canaan toward which the former Israelite slaves marched for 40 years.
Misinterpretation of Matthew 24:
We believe the seventh trump sounds after the tribulation (Matthew 24: 29-31). Paul wrote his second letter to the Thessalonians because he knew the first had been misunderstood, concerning Christ's second return. Paul then gives two signs which will be present when the Day of the Lord comes. Those signs being the apostasy and the man of lawlessness. Neither of these signs were present at that time (www.shepherdschapel.com/statement3.htm).)
The "seventh trump" and "tribulation" pertain to the Book of Revelation and are construed by premillennialists to support their erroneous doctrine. However, Matthew 24:1-35 constitute our Lord's answer to his apostles as to when the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed, which occurred in A.D. 70. Matthew 24:36-51 and all of Matthew 25, though, constitute our Lord's answer to his apostles regarding his Second Coming. Arnold Murray erroneously takes the words of Jesus out of context to support premillennialism. In truth, rather than there being signs of when the Second Coming of Jesus will occur, our Lord plainly taught that the time of his return was unknown and unknowable (Matthew 24:36-51); "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Matthew 24:36).
Misinterpretation of Luke 21:
Luke 21:25 “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars: and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring” Have you seen any signs lately? Waves roaring should bring a major tsunami and hurricanes to mind. What about earthquakes, tornados in November, and terrorism around the world? The nations are distressed. Wake up! Luke 1:31 “So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. 32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” We aren’t given the moment, but we are given the generation that all these things shall come to pass. It is this generation. Are you able? (“Able.” The Shepherd’s Chapel newsletter #328 – February 2006, p. 2)
Luke 21:20-33 corresponds to Matthew 24:1-35 and pertains to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70; Luke 21:20 specifies "Jerusalem." Therefore, "earthquakes, tornados in November, and terrorism around the world" and Luke 21:20-33 have nothing whatsoever to do with each other. Though Arnold Murray hijacks the words of Jesus from their context and says, "It is this generation," Jesus told his disciples 2,000 years ago that his prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem would be fulfilled within their generation (and it was). No proper definition of the word "generation" can cram 2,000 years into it and arrive at the present.
Purportedly, Arnold Murray predicted the end of the world both in 1981 and 1985 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepherd's_Chapel). Jesus, though, said that no one knows when the world will end with his return (Matthew 24:36), and the longstanding evidence of a false prophet is when his predictions fail to occur (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).
Apparently, Arnold Murray teaches something coined "Serpent Seed" where Satan and Eve are supposed to have had sex, and their offspring was Cain, through whom evil continues in the world through his descendants called Kenites. Arnold Murray, then, explains the existence of sinfulness in the world after the flood of Noah's day by claiming two Kenite stowaways in addition to the eight souls the Bible avows were on the ark (1 Peter 3:20) rode out the flood (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepherd's_Chapel).
Arnold Murray apparently does not believe in an eternal hell, but that the wicked will ultimately be annihilated, though the Bible clearly teaches eternal heaven and eternal hell (Matthew 25:46). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepherd's_Chapel)
Apparently, Arnold Murray does not believe that there are three persons in the Godhead, commonly called the Trinity. However, unless Jesus was purposely deceiving mankind, three distinct persons of the Godhead are evident at the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:16-17). Many other passages in both testaments of the Bible likewise teach three persons in the Godhead.
Arnold Murray's ethics and honesty are questionable because he apparently cannot substantiate his claim to have a doctorate degree. Independent research respecting a doctorate degree attributable to Arnold Murray is unable also to substantiate his claim. Although a doctorate degree is not necessary to be an effective minister of the Gospel, ethics and honesty are requisites to being an effective minister of the Gospel.
Arnold Murray applies the word "pastor" to himself in a way contrary to the way in which it is used in the New Testament (i.e., being interchangeable with the words "elders," "bishops" Ephesians 4:11; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-2; Titus 1:5, 7).
The name of the church, which Arnold Murray began and for which he preaches, does not correspond to biblical names in the New Testament for the church (e.g., "churches of Christ," Romans 16:16; "church of God," 1 Corinthians 1:2; etc.).
These above are a sampling of what is easily discernible regarding the ministry of Arnold Murray and his Shepherd's Chapel. With little reflection, it is not difficult to see that Arnold Murray and his Shepherd's Chapel presents "another Jesus," "another spirit" and "another gospel" (2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:6-9). Satellite association with a church in Arkansas is hardly a satisfactory replacement for assembling with Christians weekly in one's community (Hebrews 10:25-31).