Saturday, November 15, 2014

Is Shepherd's Chapel a Cult?

The Shepherd's Chapel is a church in Arkansas, USA, that has gathered a large following via their TV ministry as well as YouTube videos. The "pastor" of the church, Arnold Murray, says he has a PhD but suspiciously refuses to show any evidence to prove that this is true. On one occasion Mr Murray made an off joke about using a gun to threaten someone who was out of line - these things alone raise serious questions about the integrity and teachings of their leader and church. (See Who is Arnold Murray? - CARM).

The church teaches many unorthodox things such as:
  • Modalism (a heretical view of the trinity)
  • The highly racist idea that the Jews are of the seed of Satan
  • White Anglo-saxons are the true spiritual Israel and chosen race
  • That the earth was created millions of years ago (the unbiblical gap theory)
(For more on the above points see here)

The belief that the earth was created millions of years before Adam and Eve is something that many Christians nowadays hold to - but this compromise on a literal and straight forward reading of Genesis is something that is in common with most cults because of their lack of grounding in biblical teaching and biblical authority. (See Cults and Creation -

One Bible translation that was recommended to me recently by a follower of Shepherd's Chapel is the Ferrar Fenton Bible. This is the second worst Bible version I have EVER seen (the worst is the Jehovah's Witness NWT Bible which perverts references to the deity of Christ). Below are the first few verses from Genesis chapter 1 of the Ferrar Fenton Bible. (The fact that it wildly deviates from ALL other English Bible translations is a major warning sign.)

(For all of chapter one of Genesis from this "Bible" see here)
The above "translation" is so bad it could easily be mistaken for a joke or satire. In fact CMI has a satire article on an imagined New Compromise Bible Version.

(The Ferrar Fenton Bible also translates the fish in Jonah as "the great fish" with quote marks and a footnote explaining it was actually the name of a ship! - See here).

Of course the Bible doesn't say that God used evolution or millions of years, and the doctrine of a literal 6 day creation and "young" earth is one of the clearest doctrines in the Bible - it only gets confusing if you accept evolutionary presuppositions of deep time - but those beliefs are based not on actual science but are based on flawed philosophical ideas that start with the belief that God does not exist and that everything must be explained in naturalistic ways - i.e. the possibility of a miraculous and mature creation by God are a priori ruled out by secular scientists. 

When everything is considered about the Shepherd's Chapel I believe it to be a cult. It is not as bad as cults like Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons, but the Shepherd's Chapel is highly unorthodox and lead by someone who is immature at best, and outright dangerous at worst. My advice is to stay well away from the Shepherd's Chapel and their toxic religious teachings and to ground your thinking in the word of God.

For Further Reading / Research:



  1. Oh and that Ferrar Fenton Bible is nothing I have ever seen, irl or on SC. Someone was just being sarcastic, SC has always used King James. I mean calling that interpretation satire is an understatement. Anyone with common sense knows better..

    1. The person was a follower of Shepherd's Chapel and they recommended it to me. SC / Arnold Murray teach that the earth is millions of years old, so it isn't surprising that one of their followers would like the Ferrar Fenton heretical "Bible".

  2. Unorthodox..maybe Just because his interpretation is different on some key issues. What I like is it's all bible oriented. Read, discuss and etymology. Guess you consider Islam and Buddhism cults as well. I watch and have learned more in 5 years than in my whole life. The man is a great teacher. Does it mean we believe every single thing he says? No. But I sure believe him over the standard Catholic church. I mean before I found the chapel, I found many contradictions, praying to false gods and idol worship. Catholicism is more anti Christ than Richard Dawkins. I believe what the bible says. Not traditions of men. Now I'm not part of any cult. Not is anyone else. We watch bible study on t.v. or internet every now and then...and I'm in a cult all the sudden? No. I'm a regular american guy. Highly intelligent and a Christian(yes the 2 can co-exist). You're entitled to your opinion but you are not going to convince me I'm in a racist cult, cause I watch bible study every now and then. This is just one more Shepherds Chapel hate page. It's really getting old. I mean do you make hate pages for everything you don't agree with? My Spiritual Discernment let's me know what is and isn't correct on SC and here. But, I wish you luck nonetheless, and pray you find salvation, whichever way you can. (I'd you haven't already) Peace Love and Praise God ;)

    1. Islam and Buddhism are false religions. Shepherd's Chapel is similar to catholicism in that both SC and catholicm grossly distort the word of God. Don't take my word for it though - check it out for yourself. Did you read the CARM article that is linked at the bottom of the blog? It has several articles that discuss the problems with SC. (Also this isn't a hate page - it is just speaking the truth and exposing false teaching, which is something that I do for other cults and false religions etc, but of course not all as there are so many).

  3. Shepherd's Chapel is not Christ centered and they don't teach Christian unity and you don't tell people they got saved and judged in three 1st earth age . Any Church that makes fun of salvation should be a red flag unless your not saved !

  4. Our primary doctrine is salvation and no Bible teaching minstry is above teaching it but Shepherd's Chapel thinks their special ones (lol )are all saved in the first Age!

  5. I'm not sure what you guys are talking about I watched Shepherd's Chapel and I cross reference what they say with the King James Bible I do not always agree with them but if I did I would be a robot, God made us individuals and anytime you can preach chapter by chapter and verse by verse ,not jumping around the Bible taking from over here and there to justify what you think .I believe your intentions are good.

    I think like most men he gives his opinion with which is subjective. You and I could read the same thing in the Bible and get two different two different thoughts I am someone who believes that comes from the Holy Spirit. Rather than judge a man pray for him allow God to judge him

    Thank you for your time

  6. Arnold Murray has caused me so much trouble. He is a heretic and what is worse he persecutes the Jews. My family and Church has suffered over the doctrine of this man. I can't open my mouth without offending my brother in law. He is like a bad dream you can't wake up from. He is dead and still has power over people. Some of his followers sent bomb threats to a cult investigative group called watchman's fellowship for exposing Shepherd's Chapel as a cult.
    🎥 Arnold Murray false teacher - YouTube

  7. I think he is a wonderful teacher and his love for God radiates through the television. Dennis is very dry. Arnold spoke with passion.Over all the years I've watched SC, I haven't seen Dennis smile one time. He does know the bible though. Nobody has taught God's word the way they do. For everyone else who wants to spread negativity or give their opinions of SC, there is one simple solution that even a child can understand, turn the darn channel. SC is on satellite. You have many other choices that may suite you.