North Texas may be losing one of its most profitable artists. Mike Murdock, a contemporary Christian singer-songwriter and televangelist, will auction off two lavish Dallas-Fort Worth estates on Saturday, February 20. You could actually attend both auctions if you feel so inclined.
Murdock is a 69-year-old who dresses like someone’s fat aunt and has a voice that sounds like he drank broken glass. After attending just three semesters of college in 1966, he was later given an honorary doctorate by a school in Florida accredited by a commission in Alabama that the Federal Department of Education does not recognize.
This was in 1989, when Murdock was a preacher on The PTL Club, also know as The Jim and Tammy Show. That’s right, this so-called doctor worked with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. Murdock emerged from the shadow of the Bakker family and set out on his own. In 2004, he bought the International Faith Center in Haltom City, changed its name to a church called The Wisdom Center and named himself pastor.
Over the years, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Associated Press have done a superb job of tracking Murdock’s exaggerated list of accomplishments. The man who has pledged to use donations to fight poverty and spread the gospel all over the world has been known to use less than one percent of these funds for such charitable works. Of course, the Wisdom Center operates as a non-profit organization with religious exemption. All donations are used to pay overhead, and Murdock’s salary, helping him maintain a lavish lifestyle.
Murdock, or “that asshole with two planes,” as John Oliver referred to him on an episode of Last Week Tonight that aired last year, preaches the prosperity gospel. This religious belief proclaims that financial blessings are the will of God. But here’s something you may not know: Making donations to so-called Christian ministries can apparently influence the will of God.
This deplorable theology first came to prominence in the United States during the Healing Revivals of the 1950s and then it really took off in the '80s, with televangelists spending extended periods of time begging the poor and middle class for money to buy ridiculous things like diamond rings, waterparks and jets. Prosperity gospel usually revolves around a sole pastor or leader, like Murdock.
Let’s take a look at these two properties, the proceeds behind this religious racket. In Fort Worth, 1007 Brae Court is an 11,334-square-foot estate, a compound situated on top of a wooded rolling hill, one of the highest in the area. It boasts panoramic, unobstructed views of the city while still providing that forest-like feeling. There is even a tennis court and there are manicured walking paths. The estate features custom architecture including several Tudor arches, wooden millwork detailing and hand-scraped hardwood floors.
It also includes a massive grand room complete with a fireplace, marble floors, a screening room and a game room. The home has a gourmet kitchen, an adjoining wet bar and a formal dining room. The master suite has a private theater, dual walk-in closets, and his and her, spa-like bathrooms. In total, the property has four bedrooms and six bathrooms. The auction will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, February 20.
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The second property is located at 2010 Whitebridge Road in Argyle and it features lavish landscaping, reminiscent of a private Hawaiian resort complete with palm trees and ponds full of exotic fish. Comprised of five buildings that sit on seven acres of land, it features an indoor moat and a drawbridge that you can use to pass over a pond built on the 21,000-square-foot estate.
Inside is a gourmet kitchen, master suite, private theater, study, exercise room, and a stunning patio overlooking the property. There is even a 3,700-square-foot, custom-built library. A separate guesthouse sits adjacent to a gymnasium with a basketball court, exercise room and theater. A winding staircase leads to three additional guest apartments. The auction for this property will take place later that same day, at 2 p.m.
With Murdock preparing to let go of these two properties, one has to wonder if North Texas is about to lose one of its most prolific songwriters. Perhaps he is preparing to retire or go into hiding. The man has claimed to have written hundreds of songs over the years. But, like so many of his other claims, this hasn’t been proven.