The Shepherd's Chapel
The Shepherd's Chapel is a Christian church and broadcast facility in Gravette, Arkansas. The church was founded by 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, with its most prominent presence being within the graveyard slot on over 225 broadcast television stations across the United States via paid brokered programming arrangements, along with streaming those programs through their websites and various other providers. 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 from a pseudoarcheological Anglo-Israelism 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 British Israelism, 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. Arnold Murray taught a version of pre-adamism, suggesting that "those who served God are predestined to salvation, while those who served Satan are cursed with free will and the opportunity to choose God or Satan in this lifetime."
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" (descendants of Cain) as a minority within the Tribe of Judah, despite Murray's objection to the generalization.
Murray responded to criticism of his positions on the Trinity, racism, serpent seed, and Kenites through the Shepherd's Chapel's website. He also addressed questions of qualifications and his relationship to Christian Identity preacher Roy Gillaspie.
- Sanchez, Casey (Summer 2008). "Secret Identity: Televangelist Preaches Questionable Theology". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Moshenska, Gabriel (July 19, 2013). "'The Bible in Stone': Pyramids, Lost Tribes and Alternative Archaeologies". Public Archaeology. 7 (1): 5–16. doi:10.1179/175355307X243672. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Walker, James K. (2007). The Concise Guide to Today's Religions and Spirituality. Harvest House Publishers. p. 295. ISBN 978-0-7369-2011-7. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Slick, Matt (January 5, 2002). "Shepherd's Chapel and the rapture". carm.org. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
- Slick, Matt (January 4, 2002). "Is Shepherd's Chapel Christian?". carm.org. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
- Murray, Arnold. "In Answer to Critics". Retrieved January 7, 2021.