The Shepherd's Chapel
The Shepherd's Chapel is a Christian church and broadcast facility based in Gravette, Arkansas. The church's founder was Arnold Benjamin Murray (April 20, 1929–February 12, 2014), who served as senior pastor until his death. As of February 2014, his son Dennis Arnold Murray, the former associate pastor, presides as senior pastor of the church. Arnold Murray's other son, David Vernon Murray (January 18, 1954 – July 14, 2013), was also an associate pastor until his death.
Since 1985, the Shepherd's Chapel has been broadcasting one-hour televised Bible studies over its satellite network on over 225 television stations on DirecTV , Dish Network and YouTube. It is the largest independent Christian television network in the world. Pastor Murray teaches a "chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse study of God's Word; the Bible". Also shown are various documentary programs dealing with archaeological findings as interpreted through an Anglo-Israelism based theological perspective. It airs 24 hours a day at their website. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the program "has been on the air for at least three decades and is broadcast in nearly every major and mid-size U.S. city".
Part of the Shepherd's Chapel's doctrine follows the Anglo-Israelism theological doctrine of faith, as well as a version of the "serpent seed" doctrine that identifies a "Kenite" lineage of people who are descended from Cain who slew Abel.
A 2008 study by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report examined the church and its roots in the Christian Identity movement. According to the SPLC report, Murray publicly disavowed racism, although he frequently identified the "Kenites" (descendents of Cain) as a minority within the Tribe of Judah, despite Murray's objection to the generalization.
Some Christian groups have criticized Murray's teachings because he did not believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine. Murray responded to this criticism by posting a statement on the chapel's website.
- Casey Sanchez, "Secret Identity: Televangelist Preaches Questionable Theology", Intelligence Report, Summer 2008.
- The Shepherd's Chapel official website (accessed 2014-02-13).
- Shepherd's Chapel Satellite Feed, Shepherd's Chapel website
- James K. Walker, The Concise Guide to Today's Religions and Spirituality (Harvest House Publishers, 2007), ISBN 978-0-7369-2011-7, p. 295.Excerpt available at Google Books.
- In Answer to Critics by Dr. Arnold B. Murray, Shepherd's Chapel website