Michael Card’s book A Fragile Stone is subtitled The Emotional Life of Simon Peter. Card begins his work by noting how few biographies of Peter he was able to find when he began his work. This is still true, I believe. I have Oscar Cullmann’s as well as this book, but I do not believe I have another book exclusively on Peter. (Of course, I have no doubt that there are many good ones out there.) On the other hand, just think for a moment about books devoted uniquely to Paul and many will come to mind if you are in any way familiar with Christian publishing. To be sure, Protestantism has a strong Pauline bent, but it is a curious thing nonetheless.
What Card has written here is an insightful and helpful consideration of Peter. Card really is a solid bible teacher. I suppose you would have to categorize him as inhabiting the space between a devotional writer and an academic. There is an undeniable scholarly aspect to Card’s approach. He does his homework, has a sharp mind, and is a capable handler of the subject matter. Yet, he writes for the person in the pew, bringing insights that are not merely derivative and that make actual contributions.
Card’s handling of Peter is like this. He discusses Peter’s life, vocation, family life, walk with Jesus, spiritual development, ministry, and eventual martyrdom. Card keeps his discussion of Peter moving with colorful prose, intriguing and appropriate speculations concerning the grey areas, and helpful applications. I appreciated how Card attempted to link certain aspects of Peter’s writings to episodes in his life, conjectural though some of this may have been, and how he linked certain aspects of Peter’s writings to his spiritual, mental, and emotional development.
The book, it seemed to me, actually focused more on Peter’s overall development than his “emotional life” per se, but Card does a great job of showing what happened to Simon as he gradually and painfully came to submit himself wholly and joyfully to Christ. In doing so, he showed what can likewise happen to us if we do the same.
This is a very good and very interesting book.