His reading of the Word of God effectually called me. His doctrine is, let's say, not orthodox, but he's bold in proclaiming the Word of God, unapologetic regarding the Word of God, and he reads the Word of God complete over the airwaves, chapter by chapter, verse by verse, book by book. (And he doesn't care if he bores the audience; but he's an engaging personality and charismatic in a salt of the Earth way. He's got an Irish twinkle in his eyes and an Irish sense of humor.)
He's an easy target for critics to misrepresent and make fun of. Which happens alot. Probably 95% of what you read of him (and I'm talking about Arnold Murray) on the internet is either blatantly not true or is half true or spun to make him look like a fool or like a typical stereotype of a fundamentalist.
The fact is: he's a crafty, honest preacher who understands human nature, has seen alot of life, played alot of roles in life, and is particularly good at 'hooking' people more mainstream preachers don't, or can't hook. For instance, Murray is very much a southern fundamentalist type of persona, yet his biggest audience is in California.
His angle that is unique is he presents a kind of British Israelism (not exactly that, but in that neighborhood) and similar doctrine that often accompanies that in a way that isn't racist (it's a lie when you read he's a racist or neo-nazi) and that steers a path avoiding much of the swamp that kind of material usually is found in. I'm not saying it's true or biblical doctrine, but there is enough in that type of material that some of God's elect see as true for it to be able to be used as a hook to draw those types to the Word of God who would otherwise be hostile due to various common misconceptions and impressions about Christianity mainly pushed by liberals and by television evangelists.
It's a shock to see and hear a person like Murray on a television program.
My sense is most who encounter him and learn from him then move on as I did. I moved on to learn what I called "mainstream" theology, but I turned out to find Reformed, Calvinist doctrine as the truth.
I was surprised when I discovered Turretin had a whole section in his Institutes on a subject that is central to Murray's teaching: pre-adamites vs. Adamites. Turrentin takes a different position than Murray obviously, but I hadn't seen any reference to that subject anywhere other than in Murray and in esoteric Eastern Orthodox writings (actually very rare writings), so it was interesting to see it in Turretin. I guess Calvinists had a period where they debated that subject early on, but the main works are in Latin untranslated.
Though I don't listen to Murray's Shepherd's Chapel anymore (havn't for a long time now) I am fond of the time I did listen to him, and I respect the man and will always defend him against the tidal wave of misrepresentation that is always being made about him. He instilled in me one very big and valuable thing: read the Bible complete, every word. That discipline which he walked the walk on, day in and day out, was a very valuable lesson he imparted, and still imparts. I also would never talk him down (enough people do that). He's a tireless and honest evangelist for God. He doctrine is dispensationalist, anti-rapture, with a doctrine of election that is unclassifiable, along with the lost tribes and similar stuff, but it's really not that dangerous (it really isn't, any more than other doctrine that isn't pure religion, to use Warfield's phrase for Calvinism). He doesn't run a cult. He's an ex marine drill sergeant (among other things) and he runs an honest operation. He never begs for money. For each of his hour long shows 45 minutes are Bible reading and commentary, 15 are questions and answers from letters, and only in a single quick sentence at the very end does he mention "if we've helped you then help us to keep bringing this teaching to others" etc. That's it. As a former student I can state there was zero cult type activity or manipulation. In fact, if you don't show interest for six months they just quietly delete you from their operation, which basically consists in a newsletter every month or so.
I won't defend his off-the-mark doctrine, but I'll commend his boldness in proclaiming the Word of God as he sees fit to do it, and I'll always recognize, and be thankful to him, that he "hooked" me with the pure Word of God, and God bless him for that. He makes no compromises with the world...
In the wee hours of the morning when I can't sleep I surf the channels and I have come across him from time to time. He is an oddity, but he is, I believe, a honest, sincere man, a good old boy.
Yes, his doctrine can be out there. Yet, he reminds me of some of the old, uneducated preachers of my youth. Men who preached not because they wanted the limelight or a payday, but men who just wanted to preach the Word.
Again, he is a long, long way from what we believe here. I wouldn't recommend him to anyone, but he is an interesting character.