On the road to Damascus back in 37AD, Saul of Tarsus (in Turkey) set out to arrest any followers of the new Christian church called 'The Way'. As it turned out, it was in Damascus, Saul of Tarsus, a Greco-Roman Pharisee, spoke to Jesus Christ, who then converted him to Christianity and changed his name to Paul. "Like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation," Paul had said, as he single-handedly revived the Christianity movement from extinction and "transformed the Christian faith from the monopoly of a Jewish sect into the dynamic, spiritual force of a church universal." When Angelo Guiseppe Roncalli was elected to become the 251st Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church in 1958 as Pope John XXIII, there were said to be around 633 million worshippers (one of every 6 persons on the planet).

Paul maintained, "I am not ashamed of the gospel – it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek . . . For God shows no partiality. Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one." Paul started his first missionary ("light of the Gentiles") in 46AD in Antioch, the then capital of Syria, the 3rd largest city of the Roman Empire, next to Rome and Alexandria. He was accompanied by Barnabas and John Mark. The 1000-mile journey took Paul over Asia Minor and to the edge of Europe. 

In April 1981, the 4-hour production of 'Peter and Paul' went on air starring Robert Foxworth as fisherman Simon Peter, an apostle from Galilee and Anthony Hopkins as Paul. The $8 million mini-series was developed for television and sponsored by Procter & Gamble Co. and produced by Universal for CBS. Robert Day of the 'Dallas' pilot directed, producer Stan Hough and Christopher Knopf wrote the script. As pointed out, 'Peter and Paul' was "written by relied largely on the Acts of the Apostles, ascribed to Luke, and added liberal doses of legend, tradition and imagination. For instance, it is not known where and how Peter and Paul died, but Knopf has them both die in Rome, which is historically likely. Peter is nailed to a cross and hanged upside down, and Paul is beheaded. Only tradition confirms that. 

"Because Luke's account is sketchy, even confusing, Knopf had to fill in all sorts of holes. He did so intelligently and sensitively. He creates a relationship between Peter and Paul that is quite believable. The tension between the two men reflects the tensions of the early church. The focus of this tension was the debate about whether the movement started by Jesus was intended for Jews alone or for non-Jews as well. That is the drama of Acts, and in this regard the production of 'Peter and Paul' is intriguing and informative."

'Peter and Paul' was filmed on location in Nafplion in the Peloponneseon and the Greek island of Rhodes. Stan made the observation, "The city and island of Rhodes haven't changed for several centuries. It's probably the most authentic place in the world to shoot a biblical film." Some parts of the ancient city filmed included the Grand Hall at the 100-year-old University of Athens, the Temple of Athena at Lindos, the Street of the Knights and the south coast of Athens. Bob Foxworth recalled, "We were there 10 weeks, and the last 3 weeks we went to the island of Rhodes, 9 miles off the Turkish coast. The Turkish coast loomed outside our hotel window. The old town of Rhodes is very similar to what Jerusalem looked like at that time in history. That is, it can be photographed to look like it." 

'Peter and Paul' focused on the 30 years after the Crucifixion. Richard Kenyon of 'The Milwaukee Journal' remarked, "In the years just after the death of Jesus, the movement he had started was in disarray, lacking stable leadership and riddled with dissension. Peter was not yet the rock of strength and security that Jesus had foreseen in him. Greek-speaking Jews in the movement were quarrelling with Aramaic-speaking Jews. Roman oppressors in Palestine taunted the members of the movement. The Jewish political and religious establishment feared the movement and opposed it. Imagine the enormous obstacles the movement faced. Imagine how difficult it must have been for followers of Jesus to carry on without him. They were proclaiming the Messiah and the Resurrection in the face of incredible opposition. They were changing the course of history."

"They clashed from the moment Paul was put in charge of stoning one of those crazy cultists called Christians," Bob explained. "Peter saw what was happening and they were locked in battle from there. It took a great deal of persuasion by Paul after his conversion to Christianity to bring Peter around. After that, I don’t think Paul was ever out of his thoughts. Paul was the man who kept Christianity alive and spread it." Of his character, "He was a temperamental man. A lot of the 'Christian virtues' were not a part of his make-up. He could be nasty. He tended to the sacramental wine a little too heavily. He was subject to all the weaknesses all of us are prey to. He could be weak and vacillating. So I approached the role as Peter the Man, not Peter the Rock. I think he felt Christ saw more in him than he saw in himself." 

Before 'Peter and Paul', Tony Hopkins played Adolf Hitler in 'The Bunker'. "For one thing they were both highly controversial personalities," Tony made the point. "They also had a violent end. But that's where all similarities end. Hitler was a destructive man who left chaos and rubble behind him. Paul was a constructive personality. He used persuasion but he was not trying to impose his will. I played Hitler as a man completely lost, dying. Regardless of the outcome of the war, Hitler was going to be dead in 4 or 5 months. He was in the final stages of drug decay. Anyone could see that he was a man quite divorced from reality. Some of his generals told him the truth. Guderian was one of them, and he immediately sent them away. In Hitler I lived the tragedy of a man who was strangled by his own destiny. A man who clung tenaciously to his sentimentality, and even in his last days was concerned with petty things. A whole world is falling apart and he is concerned with his dog. Perhaps he was always a petty man, but at the same time a great demagogue. He may have been the greatest demagogue the world has known, but he was still a small man. 

"People think of Paul as a kind of firebrand, a kind of evangelical, charismatic speaker. I don't agree because if one reads his letters one realizes he is actually opposed to that kind of speaker. He says, 'Go back to the simple truth.' I think Paul's teaching is moderation in all things. That's why I play the role in a low key. It would have been shortsighted to play Paul like a great demagogue or speaker. Paul and Christ were positive thinkers. They were doers." 

Bob remembered, "What attracted me to 'Peter and Paul' was the historical aspect, not the religious aspect. No matter what the differences between religions, one thing is so clear – there was an explosion of a remarkable idea. That seed that Christ was able to plant excited the imagination and inspired me to take the role. Stan saw me in the beard and said, 'There's our Peter.'"

Francisco Coll spent 27 years researching and developing techniques for mental sensitivity. In 1964, he founded the Inner Peace Movement (IPM). Bonnie Newman of IPM told the press in 1975, "Everyone possess a 'sixth sense' to some degree. It's just that some people know how to use it better than others." Donna Winegarden added, "There are 4 different gifts of vision. They are clairvoyance, feeling, intuition and prophecy." 

As noted, "Prophets and reformers had always had a vision of new world, but they had not always understood the Divine method by which that new world was to be brought about." In his sermon back in 1931, Dean Talbot explored Jehovah's "Behold I make all things new." Dean Talbot elaborated, "God creates a new world by renewing the old. A new world which can never come to an unregenerate, unrighteous race. Some say democracy has failed. We might say of democracy what H.G. Wells says of our Christianity – it has not failed, but it has been found difficult and has not been tried. Democracy demands a people recreated from within. It is not democracy that has failed the people, but the people have failed democracy. The only alternative to democracy today (back in April 1931) is dictatorship, and that is retrogression. Democracy rightly conceived is instinct with Christian idealism and, therefore, we may express the hope that it will never pass from the earth." 

Back in Sunday School in June 1974, Dr Elisha Douglass recounted the apostle Paul's apocalyptic vision of the Second Coming, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."

Dr Douglass disclosed, "The vision created problems. First of all, many converts, feeling that the affairs of the world were of little importance since they would so soon be terminated, simply stopped work and flocked together in excited groups waiting for the great event to happen. This caused economic disruption and brought discredit on the faith. Paul urged these Christians to carry on with their daily labor 'so that you may command the respect of outsiders and be dependent upon nobody'. For the Christian today (in 1974) the most important aspect of the Christian doctrine of the Second Coming is the ever-present necessity it creates to be prepared. As Paul expressed it, 'For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night'. (Hence) the Christian must be prepared for the Second Coming. He can have no idea when or how it is going to happen, but that is really not very important. The vitally important thing is that he be secure in his faith and upright in his conduct. Under these circumstances it makes no difference whether the Second Coming is tomorrow (back in 1974) or in the year 20,000AD."

Pope John XXIII died in June 1963. In March 1962, the Pope spent 32 minutes talking in French to Jackie Kennedy Onassis in the library at the Vatican City. Back in May 1961, he spent 26 minutes talking to Queen Elizabeth II. Some 15,000 Italians stood in the rain to see Jackie when she left. Afterward Jackie flew to India then Pakistan on goodwill visits. On October 11 1962, Pope John XXIII reportedly shook the foundations of the largest Christian church in the world when he called the Ecumenical Council to meet and discuss reform and social change of the internal affairs of the church.

The last such meeting was held in 1869. The first such meeting dated back to the year 325 in Nicea called by Emperor Constantine. Pope Paul VI described the revolutionary program (or "aggriornamenio" meaning bringing the church up to date in the modern age) as an "astonishing phenomenon" in the then near 2000-year history of the Roman Catholic Church. The 21st meeting held in the Basilica of St. Peter ran until December 1965 and cost some $20 million. Attendees included some 1800 cardinals, archbishops, bishops, patriarchs and top spiritual leaders. On reflection, one Christian scholar voiced, "I think there have been more serious crises. For examples, in the time of St. Augustine (Arianism, Christ inferior to God), the time of Pope Gregory VII (two excommunications), and certainly the time of the Reformation (Protestant reformation in 1517 when Martin Luther rejected Catholic teachings and practices)."

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