John “Newton’s story was renowned as one of the most sensational, sinful, spiritual, romantic, influential, and historically important sagas of the 18th century.” So says Jonathan Aiken on the back cover of his biography about John Newton. Today we hardly know anything about him except for a song he wrote. It’s called Amazing Grace. That song is perhaps one of the most famous hymns today. It’s power and message come from Newton’s life experience with the Lord. Newton did not come to Christ as a young child. He grew up in England. His father encouraged him to spend his younger years as a sailor. Though his mother had faith in Christ, Newton rejected it. He learned the crudeness and depravity common on British slave ships. They often were gone from England for 1 to 2 years. During this time, he became a foul-mouthed, immoral brawler who regularly cursed God.  Jonathan Aiken, John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace, Crossway, Wheaton, Ill., 2007, Back Cover.