I recently read John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace by Jonathan Aitken. It was an enjoyable and easy to read look at Newton’s life. Aitken takes us from the foul-mouthed slave trader to the country parson to the city pastor and mentor.
I have read other biographies on Newton, but I learned some things here. Newton kept journals and wrote many letters, and Aitken has clearly dug into them, using them to flesh out Newton’s life. I found particularly interesting Newton’s relationship with William Wilberforce throughout Wilberforce’s drive to end the slave trade. Through Newton’s letters, we also learn much about his loving relationship with his wife Polly.
As a Christian, I was amazed again by God’s incomparable grace that saves people who are blatantly against God. I was challenged by Newton’s personal devotional habits and his never ending wonder at God’s grace. As a man, I was challenged by his love for his wife – and his ability to communicate it to his wife. And as a pastor, I appreciated learning about his ministry – with lots of good ideas for today.
If you are looking for a good introduction to Newton, and want to be encouraged in your Christian life, marriage, or ministry, this is a good book to take up and read.