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"I have been very concerned for my mother in law for a couple years."


----- Original Message -----
From: Name Withheld
To: Paul Stringini
Sent: Monday, December 09, 2013 6:22 PM
Subject: Shepards Chapel concerns
I have been very concerned for my mother in law for a couple years.  She started telling us about a man she was watching on TV.  The show was Shepard’s Chapel.  Over the last few months she keeps trying to get into debates about our beliefs which of course are WAY different than hers.  I’ve read your entire document and of course some of it is confusing to me but I see a LOT Of what she talks about. 
She was just at our house and wanted to discuss “the rapture” and “paradise” with us.  I finally told her I wasn’t going to argue with her.  She has a very condescending tone now….. I see he apparently does too.  She must be a good student.  Anyway, I am hoping for any help you can give me that might change her mind.  It’s almost like she worships this man.  I am very alarmed and not sure where to start.  She won’t listen when I try to speak.  I know I’m rambling but am truly shook up. 
Any words of wisdom would be appreciated!!
Name Withheld

My First Response:

----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Stringini
To: Name Withheld
Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 5:34 PM
Subject: Re: Shepards Chapel concerns
Hi Name Withheld,
It really depends on you.  How far do you want to go?  There is no magic bullet which I can give you which will suddenly open her eyes. 
One of the things people tell me is convincing about my various writings is the fact that is comes from my own first-hand knowledge.  When I was a student of the chapel,  someone gave me  a paper put together by the Christian Research institute.  I thought the paper was interesting, but only in that I felt they fundamentally misunderstood Murray, the paper did not sway me in the least.  And when I finally turned against his ministry, I looked back at those papers and thought that they fundamentally missed out on some of his most obvious faults.  They seemed more like political "talking points" than an actual analysis of Murrays teachings and ministry. 
Even in my original document I think I missed out on some of the biggest faults.  One being the money issue.  His students all have the impression that he never asks for money,  because he is constantly sounding the trumpet about how he never "begs."  But he does ask for money, every single broadcast, and he asks for donations for all his teachings which he sells between the broadcasts.  If asking for donations is not for every practical purpose the same as begging, I don't know what is.  It is the hypocrisy and disingenuousness of this that I have come to find extremely distasteful, that and the fact that he seems to fool everyone in this regard.  When I was interviewed regarding Murray, both myself and the reporter seemed to share the impression that Murray "was not like other ministers" in that he was not constantly asking for money.  Why did we think that?  'Cause Murray told us, that's why, and we took his word for it, even though on his broadcast daily he asks for money.  Maybe if you watch his broadcast you might catch him in this lie, that will mean more to her than your just taking my word for it and passing it on.
You can take information I give you and toss it in your mother-in-law's lap but it will not have the same impact as if you watch Murray for yourself and use his own hypocrisy against him.  I get a  lot of letters from loved ones of people who have become involved with Shepherd's Chapel,  and it really comes down to one simple question, "How badly do you want to help them?"  Because they will not be easily convinced.  Murray trains them to be proud of what they think they know, and they will easily resist any light attempt to turn them from what they believe is their calling and election, from what they believe is the hidden truth.  That is a very powerful psychological trap...  She believes she is privy to secrets that only she and a select few can understand.  So if you start arguing with her, even from scripture, she will reason within herself that it is because you are deceived.  She will resist your attempts to use the bible, she will see attempts to use the bible against what she knows as a twisting the truth, even if you are merely reading what is written plainly on the page. 
Shepherd's Chapel students take pride in their knowledge of the scriptures, it is a twisted knowledge, but not one to be taken lightly.  They have learned enough in the bible to feel confident in themselves, and are not easily shaken. The only way to take them on is to be more knowledgeable than they are in the scriptures.  Even then, it is not by the power of good arguments that hardened Chapel students are turned from their folly.  It is by the spirit and power of God.  Most of what I do is for the benefit of people who have not become deeply involved in the Chapel.  Once you get deeply involved,  the deliverance must come from within the heart, not from men. God had to open my eyes for me to free myself from the teachings of the Chapel. 
Sometimes, the best I do with hard-core Chapel students is humiliate them.  And that may sound kind of rough, but since one of the greatest sins of their church is pride it might not be uncalled for.  They place a great deal of emphasis on their "scholarship"  Murray flatters his students a great deal for agreeing with him.  They need to be shown how thin and phony that scholarship really is.  If they do not immediately change their mind, having their confidence shaken can lead to them taking a closer look at Murray's teachings.  There are few who are going to be convinced in a single day, but sowing the seeds of truth can bear fruit in time.
If you have any more specific questions I would be happy to answer them.  Other than that I can only point you to the dozens of email exchanges posted on my website.  There is a lot of insight there into the mind of Chapel students, quite apart from anything I have to offer.  Whether one agrees with me on everything, or not, one can observe the way many Chapel students deal with challenges to their faith, and it is generally not pretty.  It is a testimony to the teaching content and abilities of their master, Arnold Murray, they are his fruit.
Paul Stringini

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