In Answer to Critics
by Pastor Arnold B. Murray
I make it a policy to never mention individual denominations, groups or single out individuals by name; however since 1991 several so called "Christian Research" organizations have willingly quoted each others's falsehoods and labels, without direct research, until they are blindly printing outright lies. This has gone on long enough now that I have categorized some glaring examples of such inaccuracies to facilitate making a clear Biblical response. I am not writing this document because I seek nor want any organization's endorsement, but I wish to point out these inaccuracies for intelligent Bible students who love to study God's Word. The Shepherd's Chapel Network now has millions of serious Bible students who study daily with us. It is because I love each of you who desire a deeper study into our Father's Word that I feel I owe this response to you and especially to new students of the Shepherd's Chapel.
I also should point out to those not familiar with the Shepherd's Chapel that we are completely independent; therefore we are not affiliated with any other church, denomination or group. As a matter of record, the only group of which I am a member is with the "Chosin Few" which is a group of Korean War veterans comprised of various military factions who fought in one of the more famous battles of that war. I am very proud to have served as a U.S. Marine in this severe winter battle in which approximately 12,000 of our troops faced a massive surprise attack by an estimated 120,000 of the Chinese communist enemy. Although suffering many casualties, the Marines and our British allies inflicted far more damage to the Chinese and were able to ultimately escape (with our dead and injured) from the Chosin Reservoir where we were at a grave disadvantage. Despite being wounded I survived this war because, I believe, the Lord had further plans and a purpose for my life. I have never forgotten the discipline of the U.S. Marine Corps and the lessons learned in war. If I teach like a Marine DI (Drill Instructor) it is with love because I know first hand the value of well educated and trained troops. In fact the root word behind the word "disciples" is "discipline". The Bible frequently uses military terms to convey how we must prepare to face spiritual warfare. As Christians our ultimate enemy is not "flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places, to wit we must put on the whole armour of God" (Ephesians 6:10-19).
I believe many of the inaccurate perceptions of what I teach at the Shepherd's Chapel could be resolved quickly if those interested would simply request our "Statement of Faith" which has been freely available for many years. If you have not already requested it I would encourage you to do so. But perhaps the best way to evaluate what I teach is to simply listen for a while. One thing you will quickly notice is that I like to field questions which in my opinion is a fine way for the listener to test what is being taught. Since the beginning of my Bible teaching ministry, over 50 years ago, I have always insisted on taking questions from the congregation. This important part of teaching ensures that everyone has an opportunity to ask key questions, then hear and judge the knowledge of the teacher for themselves. Now let's take a look at some of the usual points of criticism that some of these so-called "Christian Research" people seem to steal from one another in their rush to reproduce lies against myself and the Shepherd's Chapel.
The Trinity or Godhead
I teach YHVH ("I Am That I Am" and Hebrew for the Sacred Name of God), Yahshua (Hebrew for God's Saviour Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. When you speak the Truth it is the Holy Spirit manifesting Himself through you. Matthew 10:20 explicitly says "For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you." The meaning, of course, refers to the Holy Spirit as in Mark 13:11 which notes, "but when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do you premeditate; but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye; for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost (Spirit)." I make no apology for teaching the Godhead in this manner, and I certainly do not need an endorsement or approval or further interpretation of my words from any man or group of research witch hunters.
Also, I have never taught that men were little gods. It would be a lie for someone to say so. I do teach all souls were created by our Father. A Christian that would not teach this fact would have a big problem with Scripture. Example: Jeremiah 1:5 says, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Another example: Ephesians 1:4 says, "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world."
Recommended additional study lectures on audio CD:
#30574, "Nature of God, El Shaddai
To say that I teach racism or practice racism is another outright lie. We have people of all races that attend and study with the Shepherd's Chapel. It is very simple to prove this statement. We televise our annual Passover meetings including video interviews of many of the thousands who attend. Order a video tape of any of these interviews and you will see people of all races which effectively documents the falseness of any charges that I teach racism (a sample of Passover Interviews is also offered at the end of this document). God's Word directly teaches that our Heavenly Father created all the races and that it was good, (Genesis 1:27-28, 31). People of all nations and races shall be in the Temple of the Lord throughout eternity (Revelation 21:22-27).
What about teaching Serpent Seed? I make no apology for teaching the Word of God. In Matthew 13, our Lord and Saviour explains the Parable of the Sower directly to His disciples. He is very explicit about exactly who the sower of the bad seed really is. Matthew 13:37-39 states, "He (Jesus) answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels."
Let no one tell you Christ was speaking in a parable here for He was carefully explaining to His disciples the real meaning of the parable He had previously spoken to the multitude. He talked with them in private, and He used language that a child could understand. Christ's teaching of the seed of the devil (or serpent) was nothing new, it was taught from the beginning of Scripture - Genesis.
In Genesis 3:15 God is speaking to the serpent, "and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel." The bruising of the heel took place when Christ was nailed to the Cross. And finally, for those who still want further proof as to who the serpent really is; we read in Revelation 12:9, "and the great Dragon was cast out, that old Serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world." Now can anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear have any doubt or confusion about Satan's own seed?
Recommended additional study lectures on audio CD:
#30146, "Genesis, Chapters 1-6"
#30461, "Seed of the Serpent"
What about the use of the word Kenites? It is a Hebrew word that has only one meaning, "sons of Cain." It does not mean Judah. The word Kenite cannot be translated Judah and is never used of Judah. Anyone saying that I use the word to describe Judah is not telling the truth; it would be a lie, because I have never said this
Recommended additional study lecture on audio CD:
Some "researchers" say that I claim to be God's exclusive messenger for this era. I have never thought this, much less claimed it. Such a claim is another outright lie. Those "researchers" cannot prove it because I have never said this. A Christian would not think of making up lies about someone, so how should we label these "Christian Researchers?"
Doctorate of Religious Education
I have never claimed to have received a doctorate from Roy Gillaspie. I do not know where some of these "researchers" came up with this. Roy Gillaspie was simply a beloved teacher of God's Word and I have never said or implied any such thing. It is true that I have a policy of not publicly stating where I earned my doctorate because then "critics" cannot judge me by association. I have always publicly stated that my credentials are my ability to teach God's Word. To the extent that our Heavenly Father blesses me with the ability to clearly teach His Word then what higher ordination could there be?
In today's world we need to be vigilant for those who would sow seeds of doubt concerning what God's Word actually says. There is nothing wrong with honest disagreement, this does not entitle one to spread outright lies. Acts 17 provides an example of an honest disagreement when Paul disputed with other Apostles in Jerusalem whether circumcision was necessary for salvation. Galatians 2 offers a second witness to the fact that although there was honest disagreement at the beginning of this meeting there was still fellowship at the end. It may also be surprising to note that this disagreement occurred perhaps 16 years after Yahshua's resurrection. And note that all the problems arose because "certain men from Judea" wanted to stir up discord among Christians by spreading the lie that unless Gentiles were circumcised like them they could not have salvation. In other words they denied salvation through Yahshua alone. The Lord hates those who sow discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19).
Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit gives us good advice in II Timothy 2:15-16 when he says, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. But shun profane and vain babblings for they will increase unto more ungodliness." Let us never be afraid to study together in Christian fellowship in a positive way with an earnest heart felt desire to uncover the Truth of God's Word. Our Heavenly Father has chosen not to give us all Truth and Knowledge on a silver platter. He expects us to study His Word and search out what is true (Proverbs 25:2). Paul also tells us the Bereans set a good example for all Christians as "they received the Word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so". (Acts 17:11).
At the Shepherd's Chapel we study God's Word in a unique verse by verse, chapter by chapter and Book by Book methodology. We don't leave anything out. We hold daily Bible classes on a college level which are freely available to all. I frequently caution all listeners not to believe what any man may teach you unless you first check them out directly from God's Word which is unchanging. You will never go wrong by encouraging daily Bible study which allows the spirit to grow ever stronger in knowledge, wisdom and in discernment.
So to those who desire to join the millions of Shepherd's Chapel listeners who enjoy studying God's Word I welcome you. If you disagree with me, that is quite alright. All I ask is that you be honest in disagreement and careful to document your beliefs. I'll always respect honest disagreement.
Our Heavenly Father has a divine purpose for each of His children. You need to stay in His Word and discover yours. May YHVH Bless each and everyone of you in your deeper study into His Word.
Click here to review the Shepherd's Chapel Statement of Faith.