Peter McPherson Is A Calvinist!
Why are you reading this? I wrote an article titled Exposing Denominationalism Among “churches of Christ” (http://www.wordsoftruth.net/wotvol10/wotbulletin09192010.html). On December 4th, 2010 I received an email from Morris Bowers forwarding something that Peter McPherson wrote (that email is below). Peter, like the Jews of Jesus’ days on earth, denies who he really is (John 8:33-47).
I am not glad that Peter McPherson is a Calvinist (Philippians 3:18-19). Nor am I happy that he cannot see that he is a Calvinist. Peter (his father) says Jesus, "died in our place, on our account, (I prefer the wording “on our behalf:, pmc) that he might bring us near to God (source; the article under point #2 below)". I did not write those words, Peter did. If you research what Calvinism is, you’ll find these words are from John Calvin’s teaching rather than Jesus Christ.
I have several evidences in the information you are going to read below. For example, an admitted Calvinist wrote an article titled, "Why I Am A Calvinist". You will notice, in the following quote from that article, that the same language Peter McPherson uses in his writing is what Calvinists call the substitution doctrine.
Notice: "God gave Christ to die for them in order to be a propitiation for their sins. That simply means He satisfied justice on their behalf. He satisfied the wrath of God on their behalf. He bore their guilt. He died in their place and in their stead, so that they wouldn’t have to suffer the penalty for their own sins. He bore the wrath of God on their behalf. He paid in full the penalty of their sins. He was their substitute. He died for them in particular" (http://www.gracelifepulpit.com/articles/Why_I_Am_a_Calvinist_Part_7.pdf).
If Peter doesn’t want to be known as teaching parts of Calvinism he should stop using the language and repent of his errors. Tim, his son, has repented of teaching Calvinism. I’d be glad to add an addendum to this material if Peter repented.
# 1: The email Peter sent out accusing me of making a false charge against him:
From: Morris Bowers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: December 4, 2010 4:19:07 PM MST
To: "Brian A. Yeager" <email@example.com>, Peter McPherson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: FALSE CHARGE
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Peter McPherson <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, Dec 4, 2010 at 12:23 PM
Subject: FALSE CHARGE
To: peter McPherson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
My Denial of the false Charge made by brother Brian Yeager that I believe in the Calvinistic Substitution Doctrine. His charge was made in his “Words of Truth” Vol. 10, Issue 52, September 19, 2010.
A good sister here in Peterborough came across an article by Brian Yeager that accuses me of teaching Calvinism. She just passed it along to me or I would never have know how I have been smeared before many. Brother Yeager did not send this to me. He did not check with me as to what he thought I believed. If he did not have my e-mail address he could have easily acquired it just as I had to inquire for his (and I will send him this denial). In an otherwise profitable article, exposing doctrinal errors in denominations and in some churches of Christ, brother Yeager got caught away and has made a horrible charge against me based upon scant or inadequate evidence. Our brother needs to apologize and make that apology known to those to whom he sent that issue of his so-called “Words of truth.” The charge is absolutely false. I highly resent being classified in any way with Calvinism or with any of the other erroneous positions in his article. Having studied Calvinism over the years in 1973 I printed a booklet denying the main 5-points of Calvinism: Total Hereditary Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. I have continuously taught against it in all it forms. I do not believe in Substitution or that Jesus died instead of me dying for my own sins. There is no one, other than the sinless, spotless, stainless, and sanctified Son of God who could did for anyone’s sins. Brian jumps on an article that I wrote for my Proclaimer. That issue was No. 236, 2/19/09. I will gladly sent it to anyone that asks for it. In my article I quoted from the Presbyterian Commentator Albert Barnes. In what Barnes had to say on the point that I was making I said that I “lean” to the comments he was about to make and said that such appeared to me to be “the best and the possible meaning of Jesus words in Matthew 27:46.” (By the way, for what it may or may not be worth, basically what Barnes said is what brother Gere Frost used to preach and I heard him say it in a sermon back in the early 60’s). But that is not where Brian attacked me (though he disagrees with what I put forth on that point). In spite of the fact that when Barnes stated that Jesus “was made a sin-offering , 2 Cor. 5:21; he died in our place, on our account” I added in parenthesis: (I prefer the wording ‘on our behalf.’) Brian then boldly announced that “Peter McPherson who …works with the church of Christ in Canada… is teaching what is known as substitution.” When Barnes said that “the suffering endured by him …was due to us” I did not and do not take that to mean anything more than we certainly deserve punishment for our sins. Will our brother Yeager deny that? Where is rank and raw Calvinism stated in that simply phrase?! Brother Yeager seems to be able to find Calvinism where there is no Calvinism at all. He seems good at reading behind the lines!
Another matter, though related. In that same article Brother Yeager black-lists all who, from time to time, refer to any Commentary whether written by a member of some denomination or written by a member of the church, whether liberal or conservative. And, he uses a broad-brush on all Commentaries. In so doing he is most extreme and at the same time terribly inconsistent. Well of course we all need great discernment in reading any commentary, material, tract OR (I am tempted to say especially) brother Brian’s “Words of Truth.” As we have seen above, not always does Brian have it right. As for being consistent about reading and possessing any commentaries and Books other than the Bible, Brian fails his own rule. He does not live in a vacuum. From his article it is obvious that he reads a LOT of other material. Is it possible that any of it has formed his views and judgements? His library has other books in it besides the Bible. To be such an expert on Calvinism he must have read a lot from that trough. He will not deny that he reads and digests brother Maurice Barnett’s writings, booklets and Books (even as many of us do and appreciate them, yet with the right to disagree or agree). Unless one is in some way limited, we can all, with a God-fearing mind and normal intelligence discern between truth and error. However we know the way that he has treated my words above, he does not always have the best judgment. I pray that our brother be more careful, use better judgment, investigates more before jumping the gun, admits that he too uses other materials from time to time to help form a conclusion, and that he does the manly and Christian thing and apologize for the false charges he has made toward me.
Peter McPherson 04/12/10
Athens, Al (USA)
# 2: Evidence that Peter and I did correspond on these matters before I publically wrote anything about them (though I did not have to correspond with him at all as his teaching was public). Please take the time to read through this and it exposes this closet Calvinist for what he really is.
From: Brian Yeager <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 11:08:39 -0700
Subject: <no subject>
I received your article below in email. I do not know you, but I trust as “brethren” that you will consider what I have written. If not, just delete it. However, I had to try and help you consider some things. Take some time to chew on them. I am not an enemy, just a concerned student of God’s word. I hope the formatting will come through. If not, let me know and I will try to send it in another format. My comments to your words are in red below.
"Proclaim(ing)...The Whole Counsel of God"
Acts 20:20,27- NKJB
Editor, Peter McPherson
Material This Time:
"My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me"
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mt. 27:46)
[The comments in red / brackets are authored by me, Brian A. Yeager. ]
THESE ARE THE WORDS as we all know, words uttered by Jesus on the Cross; words from Psalms 22:1. But folks, if we are going to understand these words of Jesus in context we must also read and appreciate both verses 1 and 2 of Psalms 22. Here we go: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; And in the night season, and am not silent.” [Jesus was not LITERALLY forsaken or abandoned (Psalms 37:25, John 8:28-29, John 16:32, John 10:30, and Psalms 94:14). God the Father did not stop hearing the prayers of Christ either (Proverbs 15:8; 29, John 9:31, and I Peter 3:12). The lifting up certainly refers to Jesus being crucified (John 3:14; 12:32-34). One must understand the implications of saying that Jesus was literally forsaken by the Father (Proverbs 28:9 and Isaiah 1:15-18; 59:1-2). Additionally, what does that mean for us in God hearing us when we are doing His will (Hebrews 13:5-6; cf. John 17:23).]
Note, that this Messianic Psalm depicts the Messiah as being forsaken. It tells us that God is “far from helping (Him); that He is far from hearing His “groaning(s); that God does “not hear” Him though He is “not silent” day and night [If you take Psalms 22 to literally be the words of Jesus, you must include verse 24 which would indicate the words of vs. 1-2 are not literal. Later in your article you attempt to explain this away.]
IMPORTANT POINT. As much as I am indebted to some of my much more learned brethren, and as much as I love, admire and respect them for their scholarship in many areas, I declare that the whole Psalm is not merely composed of what others (His enemies) thought of Him, nor was what Jesus uttered from the Psalm an attention-getter (to get the Jews standing back from the cross for them to reflect on the entire Psalm so that they might recognize that He was the Messiah; in fact the cross itself got few at all to recognize Jesus as the Christ the Son of God; it was only after the resurrection that even His own disciples recognized that, Jn.2:22, and see Acts 1 and 2). [This paragraph indicates that you have written this article to answer someone you perceive to be in error. It makes no sense to those of us who do not know who you are responding to. The paragraph makes me wonder if you have taken the view in this article just to oppose someone.]
Rather, the Psalm, including verse 1, is filled with words of the Messiah Himself declaring His thinking, His situation, His feelings, His assessment, His reflections, His pleas, His praises, His assurance, His confidence, etc. Besides the first verse of Psalms 22 being cited by Jesus (Mt. 27:46) there are other references that He utters about Himself: Hebrews 2:12 (from Ps. 22:22); Hebrews 5:7 (from Ps. 22:24); Matthew 27:35 (from Ps. 22:18); John 19:37 (from Ps. 22:18); John 19:24 (from Ps. 22:24); Mathew 27:39-44 (from Ps. 22:6-8); John 19:38 (from Ps. 22: 15); and perhaps others.
WHEN WE UNDERSTAND that He is expressing His mind throughout the Psalm, it will help us to form a better understanding of the first verse and of which He applied to Himself on the Cross. Sorry, but I believe it is rather ludicrous to say, with Jesus dying in agony upon the Cross, that those mournful words He uttered, did not mean what He obviously meant (more below) but that throughout the Psalm He was only relating what His enemies thought of Him. Putting verse 1 in that category would be totally out of place as well as misleading [Do you realize that you have Jesus therefore saying God the Father has left Him? You cannot study the Bible and ignore other passages. In fact, Psalms 22 is just that, a song. It needs to be defined by using other passages, such as the ones I cited earlier. The method of study you have used is what Peter warned of (II Peter 3:16-18). This method of study has people applying texts such as all of Isaiah 53 to the cross when Matthew 8:16-17, etc. shows otherwise.]
Well no, when the following is accepted. It is my studied view that the difference between the references where He says such things as “But when He cried to Him, He heard” (Ps. 22:24) and then from verse 2 “You do not hear” is in regard to the past experiences of the Messiah. For instance, after His baptism and temptations, “angels came and ministered to Him,” Mt. 4:11; and in the garden of Gethsemane when He contemplated “the cup” He was to drink He was “strengthened” by “an angel…from heaven” Lk. 22:39-43. But now, in the present situation concerning His awful sufferings regarding the necessity of a sin-sacrifice that He alone must make for all the sins of all mankind He cried out "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me." Like God "heard Him" and then He did "not hear" Him, now it is, after His Father being "with"Him all along, I say now it is, concerning the only hope for mankind, that He was "forsaken" by God His Father. God was always "with" His Son in regard to the carrying out of the scheme of Redemption, but He had to leave Him alone on the cross, He had to make this one time, as it were, an exception for our sake. [Now you have denied Matthew 26:53. Why would the Father prepare a body for Christ to be offered as a sacrifice (Hebrews 10:1-10), Jesus obeys His Father in this work (Hebrews 5:8-9; cf. Matthew 17:1-5), and yet you teach that the Father separates Himself from Jesus.? Scripturally, this makes no sense (John 15:23 and I John 2:23).]
Why? That is God's business (Deut.29:29). [Peter, I do not know you at all, but this is the common answer of anyone who cannot prove their point. If we cannot know for sure what is truth, we must not teach it (James 3:1).]
THEREFORE I basically lean to the following comments of Albert Barnes [Do you know who Albert Barnes is? He is a Presbyterian. Therefore, that makes him a teacher of pure Calvinism. Let me give you a hint, that is the doctrine you have taught here. Calvin is the author and his students have promoted this for years. You have adopted it. Maybe more time in the Scriptures (John 5:39 and Acts 17:10-11) would help you purify your mind from the denominational teachings you have been studying. I have a set of “Barnes Notes”. The box they are in are holding up my mower in my shed. Remember, we are supposed to rightly divide the Scriptures (II Timothy 2:15; 3:15-17), not commentaries written by ANY man (cf. I Corinthians 4:6 and Job 32:8). You are actually now letting a Presbyterian preacher do your speaking. If he were alive, would you trust him to hold a Gospel Meeting where you preach? If not, why then promote his doctrine and give credibility to his name as you have?]
As to the best And the possible meaning of Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew 27:46 and taken from Psalms 22:1.
After presenting references to the awful physical and mental punishments inflicted upon Jesus Barnes says: “ and yet we have reason to think that there was still something more than all this that produced this exclamation. Had there been no deeper and more awful sufferings, it would be difficult to see why Jesus should have shrunk from these sorrows and used such a remarkable expression. Isaiah tells us Isa_53:4-5 that “he bore our griefs and carried our sorrows; that he was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities; that the chastisement of our peace was laid upon him; that by his stripes we are healed.” He hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us Gal_3:13; he was made a sin-offering 2Co_5:21; he died in our place, on our account, (I prefer the wording “on our behalf:, pmc) [This is pure Calvinism. You and I never had a place on the cross. Contrary to the views of Calvinism, Christ is not our substition like the ram was for Isaac (Genesis 22:10-13). Jesus is the SACRAFICE (Ephesians 5:2 and Hebrews 10:10-12), not substitution. No single human being could have ever done what Jesus did (Hebrews 9:8-14; 23-28), therefore He did not die in anyone’s place! It was HIS work to do (Matthew 20:28). It is our work to come to the Lord (II Corinthians 5:20).]that he might bring us near to God. It was this, doubtless, which caused his intense sufferings. It was the manifestation of God’s hatred of sin, in some way which he has not explained, that he experienced in that dread hour. It was suffering endured by Him that was due to us, and suffering by which, and by which alone, we can be saved from eternal death.”
As far as I know Barnes did not expand further upon that “in some way which (God) has not explained.” And as long as we leave it at that, surely we are safe in our above understanding of “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me.” [You are not safe in your conclusions when you have arrived at them through denominational error. You are not safe in your conclusions when they ignore many other passages. You are not safe in your conclusions when they imply many more errors. The end result of your teaching is that God forsakes the righteous when they are carrying out His will. That conclusion, is contrary to the word of God (Psalms 34:17).]
Peter McPherson 2/09
From: Peter McPherson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 18:27:29 -0500 (Eastern Standard Time)
To: Brian Yeager <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: <no subject>
I did e-mail you a few months ago to commend you on your web-site. I did not hear back from you. I will try to follow you.
The source of many of your points apparently come from books that you and I both have in our libraries; they are not of your
own studies and mind. You have been indoctrinated in this regard, even if by a brethren. The cry of Calvinism is easy
To make but hard to prove - it is a false charge and I do not teach it, not one drop.
From: "Brian A. Yeager" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: February 19, 2009 4:40:51 PM MST
To: Peter McPherson <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: <no subject>
Do you normally respond to honest men who try to help you by making false allegations? Not only did I not use a book (outside of the Bible and a concordance, twice), but I can quote most of the passages I cited to you. I do not know one single brother or sister in Christ who would have responded in the manner I did nor who would use the Scriptures that I did. If there are others, then we have reached the same conclusions through using the Bible and I commend them for that. Moreover, I am sure we do not have the same books in our library. My library consists of two shelves (if you want a picture I can send it to you). I gave up on books (by “brethren” and others) years ago. My library is mostly language study books, which I also give little credit to. Most lexicons carry denominational doctrines within.
Peter, I have taught against your conclusions for years. In fact, I have pressed brethren I work with locally (the song study I have online is evidence) to stop singing and praying like a bunch of Calvinists.
I am sorry I did not respond to an email you sent me in the past. It must have made it to a junk folder or something on accident. I would have responded had I seen it.
Brian A. Yeager
3917 Tierra Roman Drive
El Paso, TX 79938
# 3: It is not my opinion that Peter is a walking, talking Calvinist teaching a form of the substitution doctrine. Notice the evidence:
Is there a difference in saying Jesus died in your place or saying Jesus died on your behalf? NO! Calvinists (like Albert Barnes who I am about to quote) use both phrases, interchangeably, because they both mean the same thing: “the fact that the Son of God has become incarnate for our sins, and has suffered and died in our stead. When all other appeals fail, this is effectual; and this is in fact the strong argument by which the mass of those who become Christians are induced to abandon their opposition, and to become reconciled to God… The idea is, that on account of what the Lord Jesus has endured in our behalf we are treated as if we had ourselves entirely fulfilled the law of God, and had never become exposed to its penalty. In the phrase" righteousness of God" there is a reference to the fact that this is his plan of making men righteous, or of justifying them" (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/athanasius/incarnation.v.html?highlight=died on our behalf - highlight)?
*** Note to Peter… If you want me to cease calling you a Calvinist repent of teaching their doctrine and stop talking like one!
# 4: Tim, Peter’s son, has done a great thing in his ceasing to use Calvinistic terminology.
From: Tim McPherson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: December 11, 2010 1:44:13 PM MST
To: "Brian A. Yeager" <email@example.com>
Subject: My apology
Brian you know how easily a word can be used unknowingly I have studied to understand that what I said was wrong (it conveyed the wrong thought pertaining to a false doctrine I do not believe), as I always want to convey the truth on the subject.
I want to change my statement regarding Jesus bearing the "penalty for our sins". I correct the statement that Jesus paid the "penalty for our sins". He never did that…
© 2010 This material may not be used for sale or other means to have financial gain. Use this as a tool for your own studies if such is helpful! Preachers are welcome to this work, but please do not use my work so that you can be lazy and not do your own studies. – Brian A. Yeager