Group 5 Dispute Results

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The Dispute

The wikipedia page on Arnold Murray has been the subject of some dispute recently. Several users removed significant chunks of information on the preacher, including discussion of his thoughts on racial mixing and other controversies. Another user repeatedly reverted the article to its old state, and the page was later protected. Both versions of the article, however, seemed to be slanted in one direction or another. Because of this, we thought that this article may be a good candidate for third-party mediation.

First, we announced ourselves on the Talk page. The protection on the article had just been removed, so we thought this might be the best way to introduce ourselves without being taken for sock-puppets or partisan editors. One side of the dispute welcomed our editing suggestions, but our timing could have been better. The article was repeatedly vandalized shortly after we asked to help out. Because of this, we decided against making any immediate changes to the article itself; they were likely to get lost in the ongoing vandalism. We set up a copy of the article on this wiki and made our edits here. When the vandalism died down and we still hadn't heard from the other side of the dispute, we entered some modest changes into the full article. JoshuaFeasel 22:27, 8 January 2008 (EST) (on wikipedia, user o11o111o)


As of Wednesday morning, the controversial sections (including our edits) are still being removed, though the other party and the admin following the article seem to approve. Mission failed, I guess. JoshuaFeasel 08:35, 9 January 2008 (EST)

Article Sandbox


Arnold Benjamin Murray (see discussion page concerning birth date) is a Christian Bible teacher, notable for his "chapter by chapter, verse by verse" approach to teaching (officially referred to as expository preaching). He is the pastor of Shepherd's Chapel in Gravette, Arkansas.
Pastor Arnold Murray

Pastor Murray's daily one-hour broadcasts are carried by satellite to numerous television stations in the U.S. and Canada and around the world, often during late night or early morning hours. The live broadcasts are aired Monday through Friday, 2-3:00 PM central, except for the third week of each month. Murray used to teach all over the Ozarks--sometimes flying from town to town which is how he got the name "circuit rider." Pastor Murray has a bronze figure of a Circuit Rider Preacher in the studio. This was given to him by congregants of the early church.


Arnold Murray is a former Marine Template:Fact who fought at the Chosin Reservoir Template:Fact during the Korean war. He is a member of is the "Chosin Few," a group of veterans who fought in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.Template:Fact

Pastor Murray began his ministry in California in the camp of Wesley A. Swift and was later ordained by Kenneth Goff (Listed in the Encyclopedia of White Power, pg. 120), Dr. John Lovell, (Listed in the book Religion and the Racist Right: The Origins of the Christian Identity Movement, pg. 54) and Dr. Roy Gillaspie, pastor of the Church of Jesus Christ Christian (a white supremacist church), in 1958 by the ' Soldiers of the Cross' (a christian identity organization with a bible college, The Soldiers of the Cross Bible Institute in Evergreen, Colorado (also known as The Rocky Mountain Kingdom Gospel Institute) run by Kenneth Goff, see the discussion page, 'Soldiers of the Cross' section), headquartered in Englewood, Colorado (Ministerial License).

He has two sons, Dennis and David who both participate in the ministry. Both sons were ordained pastors by Martha Sweeter, his sister in law, and Arnold Murray in 1994.Template:Fact His wife, Anna Murray, died June 15, 1997, according to the Social Security Death Index. His brother, Harold D. Murray, works with Pastor Murray at Shepherd's Chapel.Template:Fact

In 1978, Pastor Murray published a series of booklets interpreting the King James Bible, called the "Shepherd's Bible" (Copyright Registration # TX-42-142). The booklets that comprise the "Shepher'd Bible" include, but are not limited to, pamphlets titled "Basic Identity," "YHVH's Scriptural Plan," "I & II Thessalonians," "Revelations," and "Daniel."

A letter by Murray containing biblical commentaries and a list of audio tapes he has produced can be found in the Wilcox Collection of the University of Kansas.Template:Cite web

Format of Broadcast

Pastor Murray's daily one hour show consists of thirty minutes of Bible study, followed by answers to questions sent by viewers either by mail or phone. He has been broadcasting by satellite since 1985. The broadcast originated as NCN, National Christian Network and was run by Ray Kassius. The broadcasts originate from a very small studio in the warehouse portion of the bookstore on the Shepherd's Chapel grounds, on Akron St., in Gravette, AR. There is a large satellite dish called "Big Mama" that beams the broadcast to a Hughes satellite.

A blue velvet curtain, with a fringed American flag, and a white Christian flag (another view) are behind Pastor Murray as he teaches while seated at his desk. There are three cameras and no teleprompter. Murray claims his name means 'eagle teacher' and many admirers send in eagle statues, a few of which he keeps in the studio.

Pastor Murray does not officially solicit donations except for stating, "If we've helped you, help us keep coming to you," at the end of each program. He states he does not draw a salary and has not during his fifty year career as a preacher. It should be noted that his home and eight or nine other properties, some very substantial, are owned by Soldiers of the Cross, the parent company to Shepherd's Chapel, Inc. A large jet hangar in nearby Rogers is owned by Shepherd's Chapel, Inc. Money and checks received for video and audio tape sales, tithes and donations are officially payable to the corporations of which Pastor Murray is the registrant.

Shepherd's Chapel

Pastor Murray's son, Dennis Murray, takes over when Pastor Murray has time off for special projects or health reasons. In the past, when Pastor Murray was away due to health issues, his son Dennis will not offer any information other than to say he is following the doctor's treatment. Other times, like when Pastor Murray broke his arm, Dennis Murray offers explanations of his progress and asks folks not call about him. They keep their family business private.

Shepherd's Chapel meets on the first and third Sundays at 10:30 in Gravette. They have no fellowship or other meetings outside of Passover and 'Fall Fellowship'. The teachings are live from the chapel and can be seen on television the third week of each month. Dennis and David alternate teaching every fifth Sunday. The order of service at the chapel is:

- Arnold Murray greets first time visitors
- Off camera announcements and commentary
- Hymnal singing directed by the music department
- Smaller children dismissed by Pastor Murray (where they attend a Sunday School type class).

Pastor Murray will count down, '3-2-1', and the teaching tape starts rolling. Only the teaching portion is broadcast on television. The congregation sits at tables. At the end, Dennis will dismiss the congregation, and Arnold Murray will go to the back and greet people. No one lingers after service and the Murrays leave quickly. The bookstore remains open for about an hour. There is a tithe box in the foyer for those inclined to give.

Shepherd's Chapel has no membership, no counseling, nor any other service for the congregation other than baptism, baby dedications, and the quick after service or live broadcast informal wedding. The chapel needs to be contacted in advance of these desired events. If there is a local baptism, it is done by Dennis and David in Spavinaw Creek, south of Gravette, during summer or in the swimming pools at the Radisson in Branson or the Holiday Inn in Springdale, AR.

The printing house, chapel, and bookstore are located on the main chapel property. However, the business building is elsewhere. The chapel contains a large anchor donated in memory of Anna Murray, the anchor of the Chapel.

Dennis Murray's voice welcomes viewers during the opening of each program. His wife Marion Murray is the voice of the Companion Bible commercial and the children's Sunday School class teacher.

There are both those who attend Shepherds Chapel and those who do not attend the Chapel but are employed there. The bookstore personel answers the phone but are not allowed to answer any questions nor give out any information on the Murray's. Prayer requests are taken from an answering machine by a person during working hours and prayed over en masse during the broadcast. Viewers can call or write Shepherd's Chapel and request a one time, one per household free introductory package which contains a Mark of the Beast CD, a newsletter, and a tape catalog.

Shepherds Chapel holds a meeting of students twice a year. Passover in the spring, 14 days after the spring equinox according to the solar calendar and Fall Fellowship in September, around Christs actual birthday on the 22nd, and known as the Feast of Tabernacles. Passover is held at the Grand Palace in Branson, Missouri, Fall Fellowship is held at The Holiday Inn Convention Center in Springdale Arkansas. People come from all over the world to these meetings. Security is strict at these meetings with many bodygaurds on duty. Arrangements to go have to be made and approved by the church authorities in advance. The dates are published in the monthly newsletter. There are people of all races at the gatherings.

Shepherd's Chapel is not a member of the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountablity) and the Board of Directors is family run, which includes Pastor Arnold Murray, Pastor's Dennis and David Murray, and Pastor Murray's sister-in-law, Martha Sweeter. The board is the only group that can remove Pastor Murray from office.

Shepherd's Chapel is registered as a non-profit, under the Soldiers of the Cross name, in Arkansas, and can be verified at the Arkansas Business/Commercial Services site by selecting:

- Corporation type: "All Types"
- Name: "Soldiers of the Cross"
- Registered Agent (RA): "Arnold B. Murray"
- RA City: "Gravette"
- RA State: "Arkansas"

Property listed through the Soldiers of the Cross can be found at by selecting:

- Select a county: 'Benton County'
- Click 'free public search' after the next page comes up.
- Owner's Name: 'Soldiers of the cross'
- Click 'search'

Preaching style

Pastor Murray teaches using expository preaching, utilizing the King James Version and Strong's Concordance almost exclusively. Much of his teaching, but not all, aligns with the 'Companion Bible' by E. W. Bullinger. The third week of each month is what the Chapel calls 'documentary week' where they show documentaries or Pastor Murray preaches using topical preaching.

Pastor Murray makes a point of not naming the preachers, denominations, and organizations he disagrees with. He declines to answer questions about particular denominations within Christianity, and other religions. Instead, he says, "let's just stick to studying God's word." He does mention "revolving reverends" and "one-verse Charlies," but never names them.


Pastor Murray has come under some scrutiny for his political and spiritual views, which he terms right-wing. He makes controversial statements, for example, during his teaching on the Book of Zechariah, he said Joe McCarthy was one of the greatest Americans who ever lived.

He teaches that all races were created in Genesis 1 and are equal and equally loved of God but there should be no miscegenation. He documents this using Deuteronomy 23:2. The word 'bastard' in Strong's Concordance is #4464, a mongrel, which means born of a Hebrew father and non-Hebrew mother. However, Pastor Murray teaches that it means two people of different races. He disagrees that this view is racist and teaches that God does not split souls and all souls belong to God (Ezekiel 18:4). Pastor Murray stated that in this dispensation of grace, we can be forgiven for this.

He often uses the term "tribes" as identified in The Bible. For example, when he refers to the "tribe of Cain" or Kenites, he describes them as the progeny of Satan, who are masterful at twisting God's Word. He is a proponent of British Israelism.

Pastor Murray gained a certain level of notoriety for retrieving a handgun out of his briefcase in response to a person in the audience who shouted "blasphemy" and breaching security during a live broadcast. The video can be found online using Google's video search engine with the search term "arnold murray".




  • Pastor Murray does not teach the Trinity in the sense of one God existing eternally in three persons. Instead Murray denies the three persons of God, claiming there are merely three offices.
  • Concerning the Trinity, Murray said, "You have these yo-yo's that will say, 'Well, I want you to think like of water [sic] and ice' and so on, 'various gases' or so forth. Or then they'll say, 'I want you to think of a 200-watt bulb, and a 150-watt bulb, and a 50-watt bulb.' Well, they're all the same wattage, friend. So why not just simplify if instead of playing stupid games, and understand there are three offices of the Godhead. Like this little lady said. She said, 'To my husband I am a wife, to my children I am a mother; that's my office. To hundreds of third graders I am their teacher and have been down through the years. That's a different office; none of them the same, but I'm still the same person.' I like that. It's simple and to the point." (The Shepherd's Chapel Question and Answers period, aired 6-4-1991)
  • Referring to Christ, Murray says, "His spirit is holy and he is the Holy Spirit." (Shepherd's Chapel Question and Answers period, 5-8-91) Hence, it is probable that Murray believes modalism, which states that Jesus is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (one Person in three roles, or modes)... [Arnold] inconsistently says, "A wise man never discusses the Trinity." (Ibid., 5-15-91)
  • It is questionable whether Arnold Murray believes that men were once gods who existed prior to living on the earth, or whether he believes that we were a part of God, as a child is a part of his father. In Genesis 1:26 when referring to the 'Our' and 'Us' (which have normally been understood to mean the Persons of the Trinity: Malachi 2:10, cf. Job 9:8, Isaiah 44:24) Murray says, 'he spoke to the Elohim, meaning God and his children, "let us make that man in our image," which is to say make it look in the likeness that we are. Do you appear as your soul appeared in the world that was?' - 'I told you that God said, "In Our image, Our likeness, the Elohim were standing there," there were from before.' (Tape #146) 'We always were with Him [God] until you were born into this Earth.' (Kenites, Tape #486) Similar to the cultic teaching of the Mormons, Murray declares that God is 'one man, ... our Father,' and like the Oneness Pentecostals, God '[sic] gots three offices he serves.' (Shepherd's Chapel Questions and Answers period, aired 5-14-91) (Position Statement DM600, Christian Research Institute, Charlotte, NC)
  • In mentioning God The Father, Pastor Murray often refers to Him as both "The Father," and "Our Father." He refers to Jesus as "Jesus" and "Yeshua". He refers to The Holy Ghost as the Holy Spirit.

Human Origins

  • Pastor Murray teaches that Gen 1:27 means 'all races' were created on the sixth day and Adam and Eve were created after the seventh day. He documents this using Green's Interlinear Bible and shows the difference in the Hebrew between Genesis 1:27 and 2:7. Genesis 1:27 uses the word "ha'adham" which means mankind. Genesis 2:7 uses 'eth-ha'adham" meaning, 'The man Adam'.
  • Pastor Murray teaches that God first created man in a spiritual body, there was a rebellion led by Satan, then God placed those souls into flesh bodies, born innocent, meaning no memory of the first earth age, for the purpose of testing. The flesh body dies and the spirit returns to God for judgment. He also teaches that God's "elect" are those who sided with God during the rebellion of Satan, and in the end times His "elect" will stand against satan in his role as the anti-christ or instead-of-christ when he is cast to the Earth by Michael.
  • Pastor Murray teaches the doctrine of the "serpent seed" (God, speaking to Satan, Gen 3:15 "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." ), which is the belief that Satan beguiled Eve, and that Cain was the offspring of the union. He sites as documentation:
- Genesis 4:2, the word "again" is mistranslated. Strong's Concordance #3254 translates it as "continued". The beginning of the verse should be read 'she continued to bare' or 'continued in labor', meaning Cain and Abel were fraternal twins.
- The first time the twins gave their first fruits to God was on the same day. Traditionally, this would be the day they came of age.
- Additionally, Pastor Murray teaches that the descendants of Cain are called Kenites and documents this in Strong's Concordance #7017 (patronymic from 'Qayin') and #7014 ('Kajin, the name of the first child'). He teaches that the Kenites are referred to in Matthew 13 as the "tares". He says there are two types of Kenites, that are not to be called Jews. The two types are Ashkenazi and Sephardic. He recommends the book, "The Thirteenth Tribe", by Arthur Koestler to help with this understanding.


Pastor Murray teaches there are two tribulations. The sixth trump tribulation is the Anti-christ, pretending to be Christ, convincing many to "fly away" with him. The first ones taken from the field will be those 'taken' in by the deception of Anti-christ, thinking he is Jesus. Pastor Murray describes these people as having the 'mark of the beast' mentioned in Revelation 13. He teaches that the seventh trump tribulation is God's wrath. To support his teaching, Pastor Murray cites:

Mat 24:40 "Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left."
Eze 13:18 "And say, Thus saith the Lord Template:GOD; Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you?"
Eze 13:19 "And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies?"
Eze 13:20 " Wherefore thus saith the Lord Template:GOD; Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly."
  • Using Strong's Concordance, he distinguishes between the terms Sheol, keber, Gehenna, Hades, Tartarus, and the lake of fire, while some Christians do not distinguish between the terms, or infer them to mean the same thing (viz., Hell). He teaches that the Lake of Fire is an annihilation of the soul; that souls judged wicked cease to exist (blotted out) at the end of the millennium testing. (He bases this on Ezekiel 28 and other passages.)

Other Teachings

  • Teaches that there is a separation of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 (See Gap creationism). He cites the alleged mistranslation of the word היה in Gen 1:2, which incorrectly translated as "was", should have been translated correctly as "became", thus reading : "Gen 1:2 And the earth became without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep" He states that this teaching is also supported by other scriptures in the Bible.
  • Teaches that there were 8 Adamic souls on Noah's Ark, and 2 (male/female) of every flesh including human flesh. Traditional Christianity only considers that there were 8: Noah, his wife, Noah's 3 sons (Shem, Ham and Japheth) and their wives. 2 of the other souls on the ark would include Kenites.
  • He believes and has stated as fact an urban legend that NASA scientists have discovered Joshua's "missing" day that corresponds to the Biblical account (Joshua 10:13) of the sun standing still in the sky. Pastor Murray was observed doing this on May 5, 2005. [1]
  • He teaches that the Bible supports the death penalty for those convicted of murder and rape.
  • He teaches that the Rapture of the righteous before Satan's tribulation at the sixth trump is a false doctrine, and that those who believe it will be deceived by Satan during that tribulation.
  • Teaches the doctrine of the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit.
  • Pastor Murray rejects the use of the term "Reverend" for himself, claiming that only God is entitled to this term.
  • Teaches that the single instance where "Easter" appears in the bible, Acts 12:4, is mistranslated. Pastor Murray points out that "Easter" in Strong's concordance, entry #3957, is "pascal" or "Passover". He states that the use of the word "Easter" is particularly offensive because it refers to the fertility goddess "Ishtar", and the fertility ceremonies associated with her. During one show, he gave the ISBN number of the Webster's Dictionary which documents the etymology. Not all editions have this etymology.
  • Has taught that the eruption of Mount St. Helens shows a face that is significant to prophecy. The picture is available from Shepherd's Chapel.

External links