John Newton by John Aitken

John Newton

By Jonathan Aitken
Level 12

This book is an in-depth, detailed, very well-researched account of an absolutely remarkable and fascinating man: John Newton. The official description reads: “Most Christians know John Newton as the slave ship captain who famously converted to Christ on the high seas and then penned one of the greatest hymns of the faith: ‘Amazing Grace.’ Less well-known is Newton’s significance in his own day as an evangelical icon, great preacher and theologian, and important influence on abolitionist William Wilberforce.” This book is difficult and long but extremely worthwhile reading—a book I think everyone 15+ should read at some point. The book is very inspiring and is filled with deep and meaningful messages: repentance, mercy, faith, miracles, perseverance, hope, kindness, compassion, selflessness, sacrifice, prayer, cheerfulness, devotion to God, forgiveness, hard work, love, devotion to spouse, courage, love of nature, humility, service, developing talents, enduring trials well, patience, and more.

Parents should be aware that there is no profanity or taking of the Lord’s name in vain, but there are references to slave traders taking sexual advantage of slave women, including John Newton himself. It is a heavy topic, but it is only referenced briefly in a few places and is not described. I felt it was appropriately handled—still, it may be a topic better processed by those ages 15+. Also, Newton had a friend who attempts suicide several times, but again, I felt it was appropriately handled. There are also some descriptions of the conditions on the slave ships that are quite horrifying and a little shocking. These are descriptive, but they are brief and only in a few places and are not given for entertainment “shock value” but to explain the true gravity of the problems with the slave trade. The main focus of the book is on John Newton’s faith and ministry. The book overall has a very positive, inspiring feel.

The British author, Jonathan Aitken, is a very skilled writer. He was a Member of Parliament for 23 years until he pleaded guilty to charges of perjury. He converted to Christ during an 18-month stay in prison.

(Reviewed by Jenny Phillips)

Genre Biography
Digital Format Audiobook, E-book
The Good and the Beautiful Library No
  • Audiobook
  • E-Book
  • Top Picks
  • 4 Entertainment Value
  • 5 Moral Value
  • 5 Educational Value
  • 4.5 Literary Value
Rating System