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Amazing Grace: The Life of John Newton and the Surprising Story Behind His Song

Amazing Grace: The Life of John Newton and the Surprising Story Behind His Song

by Bruce Hindmarsh, Craig Borlase
Amazing Grace: The Life of John Newton and the Surprising Story Behind His Song

Amazing Grace: The Life of John Newton and the Surprising Story Behind His Song

by Bruce Hindmarsh, Craig Borlase


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Notes From Your Bookseller

"Amazing Grace" is performed over 10 million times annually and has appeared on over 11,000 recordings. This book is the story behind the song and its author. This book has it all - shipwreck, history, struggle, shame, forgiveness and redemption. Amazing grace indeed.

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.

The profound lessons from his life are applicable to us today, helping us to:

  • Discover that the need for grace is universal and offers the deepest hope for overcoming hatred
  • Be honest about our lives even when we are ashamed and face seemingly unresolvable problems
  • Look for grace when life is far from perfect and doesn't match up to our expectations
  • Trust that our mistakes and regrets, no matter how deep, can be redeemed in the end

Since the first public singing of “Amazing Grace” almost 250 years ago, every generation has been profoundly moved by the song, and now readers can connect with John Newton’s story like never before. In these days of extreme polarization when beliefs about race, church, and politics have all become deeply divisive in society, we need grace more than ever. We need stories like this one that talk honestly about the human condition but even more about the relentless love of God and his forgiveness of sins.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400334018
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 03/07/2023
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 44,346
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Bruce Hindmarsh, DPhil (Oxon), is the James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology and Professor of the History of Christianity at Regent College in Vancouver. He wrote his doctoral thesis at Oxford on John Newton, which was published as John Newton and the English Evangelical Tradition (Oxford University Press, 1996). A paperback edition was published by Eerdmans in 2000. He also edited and wrote an introduction for an edition of Newton's autobiography and his letters on growth in grace: The Life and Spirituality of John Newton (Regent College Publishing, 1998). He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a past president of the American Society of Church History. His book The Spirit of Early Evangelicalism: True Religion in a Modern World won best History/Biography in the 2019 Christianity Today Book Awards. Bruce speaks and writes regularly for academic and general audiences around the world on history, theology, and the spiritual life. Some of this work and his other books can be viewed at

Craig Borlase is a New York Times bestselling writer, specializing in crafting dramatic, engaging memoirs. Recent work includes the international and New York Times bestseller Finding Gobi and My Name is Tani. Films of both books are currently in development.

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