23. The Gentiles
Although Paul was primarily active in converting the heathens to Christianity and managed to get the Apostolic Council (Acts chap. 15,) to agree to baptism without prior circumcision, it was Peter who was first linked to the conversion of the Gentiles in the Acts: "While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, "Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ" (Act 10:44-48a NRS). Peter is also named in the Acts as being the person responsible for Christians not adhering to Jewish food laws: "He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all kinds of four- footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. Then he heard a voice saying "Get up, Peter; kill and eat." But Peter said, "By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean." The voice said to him again, a second time, "What God has made clean, you must not call profane." This hap- pened three times, and the thing was suddenly...
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