Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Review of Amazing Grace:The Life of John Newton by Bruce Hindmarsh & Craig Borlase


Dear Readers 

I want to introduce you to the story of John Newton (the person who penned the hymn "Amazing Grace.")

 It's an interesting and heart-wrenching one, but also an inspirational one of hope.

Have a blessed day,



Amazing Grace is the surprising true story of John Newton, author of the song that has touched millions. A biography that reads like a novel, it reveals Newton’s dramatic story of sin and salvation as a slave trader before his ultimate transformation to speaking out against the horror of slavery. His story speaks to the brokenness within us all and our need for God’s amazing grace—and reveals the truth behind his song.

Amazing Grace is based on years of research on the life and writings of John Newton. It tells of a prodigal who returns home, and a young love that defies the odds; of a young man whose life is torn by grief and wounded by the cruelty of others, following his descent into deeper suffering and finally into the brutal world of the slave trade. Newton rejects God repeatedly but is rescued by a divine mercy that reaches deeper than he could ever have imagined as he ultimately faces his past and repents.

Newton’s story is shocking, and Amazing Grace does not try to airbrush or excuse his faults. There are glaring contradictions in the life of a ship’s Captain who retreats to his cabin to study his Bible and write tender love letters to his wife while hundreds of slaves lie in chains in the hold below.

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My Review

Amazing Grace was a difficult, but enlightening book to read due to the subject matter. The story of John Newton is one of heartbreak, danger, adventure, and a struggle with his faith due to the atrocities he was part of.

A fairly newly converted Christian influenced by prejudice, society standards, and money, I could feel the turmoil he faced as I read the pages. Being self-deceived and turning his back on the Christian faith, his life was not an easy one.

The main parts I took away from reading his biography are: (1) No matter how dark your sins are, you can still be forgiven
(2) No matter how strong your faith is, you can still be self-deceived 
(3) Once you are right with God, it is your duty to live for Christ 
(4) Follow Jesus and be more like HIM- put forth LOVE. Answer to God, not man's will.

The authors did an amazing job in their storytelling and descriptions of the life of the slave traders. The accounts of the life of the slaves were heart-breaking. Along with the sorrowful parts of the story, there always seemed to be some pivotal point in John's life that set him straight again on the right path showing hope and inspiration. Well worth the read.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and voluntarily choose to review it. All opinions are my own.

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Julie Grace