Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Newton on the Christian Life {a Family Christian review and giveaway}

I try to always, always actually READ the books I'm reviewing.  Sometimes, reviewing something like, say, a Bible, or a 365 day devotional, or similar items, I go for reading a solid sample.

So I have to confess up front that I have not finished reading Newton on the Christian Life by Tony Reinke.

This review is over a week late, so I could have more time to get through it.  Family Christian ought to fire me from their review team, methinks.  Because not only am I late, but I still haven't finished reading the book.

It isn't a long book -- fourteen chapters, totaling around 270 pages.

It is deep though.  And when I try to just sit down and plow through it, I find that I have to go back and re-read it.  So I've taken to reading a page or two at a time.

I'll confess that I didn't expect this kind of depth.  What I knew about John Newton prior to beginning this book doesn't take long to explain.  He was a slave trader, living a completely unchristian life.  He experienced God very up close and personal in a horrid storm, and that completely turned his life around.  He wrote Amazing Grace.  He was a preacher.  He influenced William Wilberforce, working closely with him to end the slave trade.  Important guy.

The end.

Obviously, there has to be more to this guy than that.  Or they'd never by writing a Theologians on the Christian Life series book about him.

From the Family Christian website:
John Newton is best known as the slave trader turned hymn writer who penned the most popular English hymn in history: "Amazing Grace." However, many Christians are less familiar with the decades he spent in relative obscurity, laboring as a "spiritual doctor" while pastoring small parishes in England. In the latest addition to Crossway's growing Theologians on the Christian Life series, Tony Reinke introduces modern readers to Newton's pastoral wisdom by leading them through the many sermons, hymns, and--most importantly--letters that he wrote over the course of his life. Considered by many to be one of the greatest letter writers of all time, Newton has valuable insights to offer modern Christians, especially when it comes to fusing together sound doctrine, lived experience, and godly practice.
Letters.  He wrote oh-so-many letters.  This book isn't a biography of Newton, which I'm sure would be totally fascinating.  But it is a way to access his doctrine, his theology, without going through those letters ourselves.

Early in the book, there is talk about Newton being most famous for the phrase amazing grace, however he preferred the phrase sufficient grace.  Reinke refers to 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, and particularly the part where it is said, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'"

Newton wrote Amazing Grace, of course, which Reinke refers to as "a macro-look at grace and the Christian life."  But he also wrote "My Grace Is Sufficient for Thee."  This "micro-look" at the application of grace in our lives tells us that we aren't promised a comfortable life, free of suffering and pain.

The promise made is sufficient grace.

And that is just page 43.  It gets deeper as I keep reading.

All sorts of things to make me think.

My bottom line is:  This is a fantastic book.  Just don't try to read it quickly.

I have a copy of this amazing book to give away!  US only please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book and an additional copy for a giveaway, free from Family Christian Stores through the Family Christian Blogger program.  This post does contain affiliate links.  I was not required to write a positive review, and any affiliate relationship does not impact my opinions. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Unknown said...

I didn't know Newton wrote those hymns! Apparently we need to start up our hymn study again!

Carol said...

I think it would be very enlightening to read more about Newton. What I know about him is small, but powerful!

Kym said...

Newton is such a fascinating character, would love to learn even more about him!