An Interview with St. Peter

St. Peter played a prominent part in the early Church. Two books in the Holy Scriptures are written by him, and in addition the book of Acts records several of his early sermons. A study of St. Peter's sayings casts much light on his attitude toward the Church and its teachings. How would St. Peter have answered questions put to him in a typical "meet the press" interview? To find out, we have posed a number of questions of interest to both Catholics and Protestants in this ecumenical age, and we have addressed them, as it were, to St. Peter. His replies are all taken from his own speeches and writings as we have them in the Holy Scriptures. We have used only the approved Confraternity edition of the Scriptures in giving St. Peter's replies

1. Could You tell us simply, St. Peter, how we can be saved from our sins?

"Set your hope completely upon that grace which is brought to you in the revelation of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 1:13).

"To him all the prophets bear witness, that through his name all who believe in him may receive forgiveness of sins" (Acts 10:43).

2. Do those who have trusted the Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins have to anticipate purgatory when they die?

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy has begotten us again, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto a living hope, unto an incorruptible inheritance-undefiled and unfading, reserved for you in heaven. By the power of God you are guarded through faith for salvation, which is ready to be revealed in the last time. Over this you rejoice" (I Peter 1:3-6).

3. But surely, St. Peter, even the true believer has a residue of sins for which he has to make restitution to God in penance?

"Christ ... has suffered for you,. . who himself bore our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died to sin, might live to justice; and by his stripes you were healed" (I Peter 2:21,24).

4. St. Peter, is it possible for grace to be purchased by us in any way?

"You know that you were redeemed from the vain manner of life handed down from your fathers, not with perishable things, with silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:18-19).

"Thy money go to destruction with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money. Thou hast no part or lot in this matter; for thy heart is not right before God. Repent therefore of this wickedness... and pray to God, that perhaps this thought of thy heart may be forgiven thee" (Acts 8:20-22).

5. Then may we assume, St. Peter, that you would be against the sale of indulgences?

"But there were false prophets also among the people, just as among you there will be lying teachers who will bring in destructive sects .... And out of greed they will with deceitful words use you for their gain" (II Peter 2:1,3).

6. What is your opinion on baptismal regeneration, St. Peter? Are we brought into the family of God through a sacrament of baptism? Is this how we are born again?

"For you have been reborn, not from corruptible seed but from incorruptible, through the word of God who lives and abides forever" (I Peter 1:23).

7. What is the significance of baptism then?

"Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the inquiry of a good conscience after God" (I St. Peter 3:21). "Can anyone refuse the water to baptize these, seeing that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?" (Acts 10:47).

8. Do you think all men will eventually be saved?

"But the heavens that now are, and the earth, by that same word have been stored up, being reserved for fire against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men" (II Peter 3:7).

9. What about those who are living up to the light they have, St. Peter? Is that enough, or must they also put their personal trust in Christ?

"Now I really understand that God is not a respecter of persons, but in every nation he who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. He sent his word to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (who is Lord of all) .... And he charged us to preach to the people and to testify that he it is who has been appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that through his name all who believe in him may receive forgiveness of sins" (Acts 10:34-36, 42-43).

10. St. Peter, do you think a Christian should be expected to keep all the ordinances and traditions which grow up around even the true faith?

"Why then do you now try to test God by putting on the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 15:10-11).

11. Is it true, St. Peter, that the Lord is angry with sinners?

"The Lord does not delay in his promises, but for your sake is long-suffering, not wishing that any should perish but that all should turn to repentance" (II Peter 3:9).

12. Should we pray to the Father, or to the Lord's mother?

"Pray to God" (Acts 8:22).

"Invoke as Father him who without respect of persons judges 'according to each one's work" (I Peter 1:17).

13. Who is it that brings us to God, St. Peter?

"Christ also died once for sins, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God" (I Peter 3:18).

14. St. Peter, do you think we should give great prominence to the Holy Scriptures in speaking to men about God?

"The word of the Lord endures forever. Now this is the word of the gospel that was preached to you" (I Peter 1:25).

15. Did you ever consider yourself any higher than other Church leaders, St. Peter?

"Now I exhort the presbyters among you -1, your fellow-presbyter" (I Peter 5:1).

16. St. Peter, what do you say then to the teaching that you are the rock upon which the Church is built?

"Be it known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that ... Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God has raised from the dead ... is 'The stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the comer stone!"' (Acts 4:10-11).

"The Lord is sweet. Draw near to him, a living stone, rejected indeed by men but chosen and honored by God. Be you yourselves as living stones, built thereon into a spiritual house" (I Peter 2:3-5).

17.Is the true Sovereign Pontiff Christ Himself? If so, how will He reward faithful Church leaders, St. Peter?

"And when the Prince of the shepherds appears, you [the presbyters] will receive the unfading crown of glory" (I Peter 5:4).

18. St. Peter, would you subscribe to the teaching that there is to be in the Church a separate priesthood distinct from other Christians?

"Be you yourselves as living stones,. . . a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (I Peter 2:5).

19. If we are to regard every true believer as a priest, what is the priestly function of the believer?

"You, however, are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people; that you may proclaim the perfections of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" (I Peter 2:9).

20. But surely, St. Peter, only an ordained priest can speak the Word of God properly or minister holy things.

"According to the gift that each has received, administer it to one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let it be as with words of God. If anyone ministers, let it be as from the strength that God furnishes; that in all things God may be honored through Jesus Christ, to whom are the glory and the dominion forever" (I Peter 4:10-11).

21. St. Peter, what should be our proper concept of the Lord Jesus now that He has ascended -to God? Should we still think of Him as depicted in the crucifix or as a Babe in His mother's arms?

"Jesus Christ ... is at the right hand of God, swallowing up death that we might be made heirs of eternal life; for he went into heaven, Angels, Powers and Virtues being made subject to him" (I Peter 3:22).

22. Is it possible for Christ to be present in the eucharist?

"For heaven indeed must receive him until the times of the restoration of all things, of which God has spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets who have been from of old" (Acts 3:21).

23. Is the church subject to earthly government, St. Peter?

"Be subject to every human creature for God's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors as sent through him for vengeance on evildoers and for the praise of the good. For such is the will of God .... Honor all men; love the brotherhood; fear God; honor the king" (I Peter 2:13-15, 17).

24. Coming back again to a most important question, St. Peter, how can I be saved?

"Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21).

25. You mean it is as simple as that, St. Peter? Do I not need some other mediator or intercessor?

"Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

26. Do you have anything else to add, St. Peter?

"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19).

Yes, it is as simple as that! Right now you can repent, believe, be born again. Call now on the name of the Lord! Ask the Christ who died for you and who lives in power at God's right hand to be your own personal Saviour from sin. Do it now. Sign here as a token of your personal acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour.


John Phillips