Most remember John Newton as the writer of one of the most beloved Christian songs
of all time: “Amazing Grace.” Having spent his younger years serving on a slave ship,
he faced an unfathomable guilt both before and after his conversion. Convicted, he spent
years studying Scripture, and he offered his life to the Methodist Church as a minister.
Newton’s congregation in Olney, Buckinghamshire flourished, and people crowded his
church on Sundays. In 1786, Newton published fifty sermons on G.F. Handel’s Messiah.
Just as the oratorio, Newton’s sermons address Christ’s death, resurrection, offer of
salvation, and paving of the way to new life for his followers. Newton speaks powerfully
about conversion and redemption. His words clearly belong to the iconic composer of