Item description for John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace by Jonathan Aitken & Philip Yancey...
Overview A fascinating, colorful, and historically significant portrait of lave-trader-turned-Christ-follower John Newton.
A fascinating, colorful, and historically significant audioportrait of slave-trader-turned-Christ-follower John Newton, readby the author.
Most Christians know John Newton as a man who once captained aslave ship, was dramatically converted to Christ on the high seas, and later penned one of the greatest hymns of the faith, "AmazingGrace." But he also had a huge impact on his times as an icon ofthe evangelical movement, as a great preacher and theologian, andas a seminal influence on abolitionist William Wilberforce-afriendship portrayed in the recent major motion picture AmazingGrace.
Jonathan Aitken's June 2007 biography, John Newton, explores all these facets of Newton's life and character. Thisbiography draws on unpublished diaries and correspondenceunavailable to earlier biographers, providing fresh insight intothe life of this complex and memorable Christian. Now theunabridged audio version of this fascinating, colorful, andhistorically significant portrait of John Newton is available, brought to life by the author's narration.
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Studio: Crossway Audio
Running Time: 810.00 minutes
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 6.47" Width: 5.47" Height: 1.12" Weight: 0.67 lbs.
Release Date Sep 1, 2007
Publisher Crossway Books/Good News
ISBN 1433501414 ISBN13 9781433501418
Availability 0 units.
More About Jonathan Aitken & Philip Yancey
JONATHAN AITKEN, an Oxford graduate in both law and theology, is the author of the award-winning biography Nixon: A Life. A former British M.P. and cabinet member, his political career ended in 1999 when he served a seven-month prison term for perjury in a civil case. He is now a lecturer, author, columnis, t and broadcaster.
Reviews - What do customers think about John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace?
Brilliant review of a facinating life Apr 14, 2008
This is one of the best books I have read in the past 12 months. It is tightly written, full of insightful anecdotes, and paints the life of an ordinary man that God used to make an extraordinary impact on the world in which Newton lived...and beyond. Even if you are not a regular reader of christian biographies (like me) this one is worth picking up.
An Inspiring Life Feb 11, 2008
Mr. Aitken's book takes us through John Newton's amazing life, and I found myself very pleased to read the story of Newton's role in the abolition of the slave trade through his influence on his friend Wilberforce (who served in Parliament devoting his life to abolition) as well as his own testimonies to the British authorities. Further, his Christian devotion to William Cowper helped that troubled man get through many dark periods -- even suicide attempts -- and he, Cowper, became one of the leading lights of 18th century English literature. Also, his devotion to and love for his wife, Polly, is also heavily accented in this work. It was a 43 year love affair, despite the fact that many found her to be unattractice and somewhat deficient between the ears. Also, they never had children. Nonetheless from the day he first set eyes upon her until the day of her death, she was his one and only. Rev. Newton also demonstrated singular devotion to hymnody in worship services which was suspect in high Church of England circles at that time. He showed a sympathy for and interest in some of the religious enthusiasts of the day that rankled some of his Church of England contemporaries, but his charitable attitudes seemed to win over those who needed to be won over, and the cause of Christ was served mightily by the man until he was in his eighties (he was exceedingly long-lived for a person in that century). The author is thorough in his treatment of the above themes, but the work is a little too cooly detached for my taste which is why I have given it a four rather than a five. It's filled with facts, yet the texture of the man doesn't really come across. I would have liked a chapter on Newton's theology, a chapter discussing the themes and lyrics of his hymns, his role as a preacher other than his impact on the famous individuals Wilberforce and Cowper, and some more personal touches that one usually finds in good biographies, whether one learns his favorite food, his reaction to issues of the day (other than slavery), and some critique of his writings. He was a pastor for so many years, but one comes away with scant sense of the man. Despite these shortcomings, I highly recommend this volume. It's worth every cent. As one reviewer notes, it shows that there is definitely room for Christian involvement in politics that one sees clearly after reading this volume. Christian statesmen are still needed. Likewise, I was pleased at his caring and patience for his desperate and suicidal friend Wm. Cowper. He did not assume that because Mr. Cowper was not walking around cheery and seemingly joyful all the time that he was not saved. Too often today Christians are ashamed to say they are sad,and many are disconsolate, yet are made to feel guilty about this. Christ told his disciples to "be of good cheer," but we are not rejected by Him if we are not. Read this book and learn from it, but don't expect literary flair or an analytic treatment.
A Great Sinner with a Great Savior Jan 18, 2008
What I Enjoyed:
Aitken does a wonderful job of putting together the life of Newton into a beautifully weaved story. One of the literary features that makes this work shine is the inclusion of Newton's letters. Sometimes it feels as if Newton is writing his own biography. One of the temptations in writing a biography is to portray the subject without many flaws and often times almost above human status. Part of the beauty of Newton's story is that he was such a great sinner. The more that we can see Newton as a great sinner the more it points to Christ as a great Savior. Aitken keeps Newton human.
What I Disliked:
In as much as Aitken shines on displaying Newton as a great sinner, I felt that in expressing latter half of Newton's statement ("...Christ is a great Savior") Aitken dropped the ball. Newton would be disappointed to find that a biography on himself did not have at its center the magnificent work of Jesus Christ. One standard I apply in reading biographies is this: after reading the biography, do I want to learn more about the man or am I driven to know Christ more. After reading this, I want to know more about John Newton. That is not altogether bad but a very important part of the story played a flat role. Newton was the main character when it should have been Jesus. Because of this we miss discovering what it was that made Newton tick.
Should You But It:
Nonetheless, it is a great work on John Newton and will serve the reader well. My hope is that it only introduces the reader to Newton and inspires you to pursue more of his work, because therein one might see and savor Jesus Christ. Should you buy it? Yes. Should it be the only Newton book in your collection? No.
First rate biography Oct 20, 2007
Jonathan Aitken has written an excellent biography, one of the best Christian biographies I have read. Newton is a great subject for a biography for he had a long and amazing life. Aitken is well qualified to write about "From Disgrace to Amazing Grace". He writes with style. His chapters are refeshingly short and to the point. The story is thrilling with "many dangers, toils and snare". One looses counts of the dangers from which the young Newton escapes. It is the story of a great sinner who was found by a great Saviour. Aitken tells the tale with real spiritual as well as historical undrstanding of his subject so that in concluion he can point the reader to spiritual lessons to be learned from Newton's life. For example. God's timing is not ours. Newton had to wait six years from applying, to be finally ordained as an Anglican minister. His marriage is an exemplary and touching story. Newtons spitiuality and prayer life are a real challenge. Aitken shows how faithful and inovatory Newton was as a pastor and how he helped many, especially his best friend William Cowper. Without Newton there would have neem no great poet only a forgotten suicide. Similarly, without Newton we would probably not have has Wilberforce, politician and reformer. Aitken also tells the story of Newton's famous hymn, its composition and rise to fame. Aitken faithfully relates Newton's faults too. His support of the American rebels had to be withdrawn but one is led to understand why many in England, especailly non-conformists, were suppporters of the rebels. Newton was an eirenic man who eschewed party labels and associated with Christian irrespective of denominational labels. This is a great biography and I hope we will have more from this fine Christian author.
John Newton Oct 12, 2007
The story of John Newton's life is one of my personal favorites. Like most of us, Newton's journey to his destiny was filled with false starts, obstacles, and a good deal of regret. Perhaps of all the biographies that I have read, the story of this man's life resonates most with me as genuinely truthful and truly inspiring.
Most people may not initially recognize the name of John Newton, that is until it is noted that he wrote the hymn Amazing Grace. Despite that it was written over 200 years ago, Amazing Grace is the most sung, most recorded, most played song ever. Not bad for a creation that was meant only to serve as a simplistic way to teach scripture to Newton's congregation in Olney.
Perhaps this song resonates so deeply with so many people because the words reflect John Newton's own extremely troubled life journey. Newton spent many years of his young adulthood completely lost. Career wise, he had no idea what he wanted to do and seemed bent on rebelling against everything that was given to him. The only thing he seemed to excel at was creating havoc. His greed and resentment led him to do horrible things including becoming a slaver.
After a series of what Newton perceived as divine interventions, the man slowly began realizing that he needed to change his life. After a lot of false starts, Newton turned his life around and dedicated himself to God's word. In his lifetime, he became a bestselling author bringing religious material to the masses. His frank testimony about his actions in the slave trade was also significant in the abolishment of slavery in Britain.