Thursday, April 17, 2008

John Newton (1725-1807)

I am back to feasting on mp3 sermons while I commute daily to work and back. I have perfectly timed the chunks into 3 sections to fit my requirements and as such I get to complete a sermon a day. I have finished D.A. Carson's expository sessions on Jeremiah today and have prepped up Dick Lucas's sessions on Psalms for the next few days. I have not heard or read him before, and so I'll have to see how good he is.

From Carson's session on Jeremiah today, he brought up John Newton and one of his sayings. I checked him out and realised he is the very John Newton who wrote the "Amazing Grace". Carson's quoted this:

I am not what I ought to be.
I am not what I want to be.
I am not what I hope to be.
But still,
I am not what I used to be.
And by the grace of God,
I am what I am.
What beautiful words, and smack right on the point. I did a search and found more - he certainly has a way with words and his thoughts are simply awe-inspiring.

Here's one that is surely close to my heart considering what I have been thinking about lately:

If ever I reach heaven I expect to find three wonders there: first, to meet some I had not thought to see there; second, to miss some I had expected to see there; and third - the greatest wonder of all - to find myself there.
I agree wholeheartedly with him on this one, though I would still talk about Arminians and Calvinists only to try to find a bridge between the two, as hard as I may:

I endeavour to keep all Shibboleths, and forms and terms of distinction out of sight, as we keep knives and razors out of the way of children; and if my hearers had not some other means of information, I think they would not know from me that there are such creatures as Arminians and Calvinists in the world. But we [would] talk a good deal about Christ.
    Picture from NNDB


    1. Dick Lucas is the former pastor of the church I currently attend (he still goes there, sat in front of me a few weeks ago!) and is a well-known preacher in Britain, although not internationally, like John Stott (both of them are from the same generation).

      He, along with Stott, was a huge influence on British evangelicalism, especially in the area of preaching. I'm not sure if it's either his old age or simply because I'm from a completely different generation, but initially, I found it really difficult to follow him the few times I've heard him preach! (Once I got used to, among other things, his accent, it was better). But I know many from an earlier generation all testify to just how helped they have been from his preaching; someone said something along the lines of "He makes God's word so sweet" to me.

      When God's voice is heard is a book of essays in tribute to his ministry.

    2. Excellent BK, thanks! :) You done my homework for me. I finished his session on Psalm 1 on my way to work just now and I like him - his style and his treatment of the passage. I was about to google him when I saw your comment in my mail.

      But I thought he was Australian?

    3. "And by the grace of God, I am what I am."

      Truly beautiful words indeed! Thanks for sharing them Pearlie!