Steve Turner has done a great service to Christians everywhere. In the first part of his carefully researched book, Turner gives us an excellent account of the life of John Newton, the author of the famous hymn “Amazing Grace.” Here he covers much that is familiar, and at the same time corrects some common misconceptions.
The second half of the book traces the history of “Amazing Grace.” It is fascinating to learn how the song’s tune has developed and changed, how the verses of the song have evolved over time, and how the hymn has grown in popularity over the years. Not as enjoyable was learning how “Amazing Grace” has been reinterpreted since the 1970’s to support the views of whatever unsaved person or group using it at the time. I am sure ol’ John Newton would be spinning in his grave if he knew what our postmodern society has done with his marvelous hymn. Still, Turner’s book should do nothing for the Christian but endear even more to “Amazing Grace” the song, and amazing grace the message.