This documentary explores Newton’s life from his turbulent youth to his involvement in the 18th century African slave trade, his dramatic conversion aboard a sinking ship and on through his remarkable ministry as an evangelistic preacher, hymn writer and abolitionist.
Alternate formats: DVD - $5.00
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” I Timothy 1:15 (NIV)
The words of the Apostle Paul in I Timothy 1:15 no doubt resonated with John Newton. As a person who had grown up in the church under the tutelage of a very godly mother and who later became a faithless rebel, Newton may have felt he was “the worst.” But if his story teaches us anything, it is to never give up on anyone no matter how far they seem to be from the Kingdom. As Newton’s most famous hymn says, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” This documentary, featuring interviews with Newton scholars Brian H. Edwards, Jonathan Aitken and Tony Baker, thoroughly explores Newton’s life from his turbulent youth to his involvement in the 18th century African slave trade, his dramatic conversion aboard a sinking ship and on through his remarkable ministry as an evangelistic preacher, hymn writer and abolitionist. This fast-paced and insightful documentary serves as an excellent teaching tool and will inspire viewers to take hold of God’s amazing grace.
Featuring a trio of historians—Brian H. Edwards, Jonathan Aitken, and Tony Baker—who describe the amazing twists and turns in John Newton's remarkable story, this outstanding documentary profiles the life of the 18th-century figure who evolved from slave trader to abolitionist (becoming a hugely popular pastor-teacher in the Church of England along the way). Newton's picaresque adventures begin with his being the protected young son of a devoutly Christian woman and a seafaring captain. Following the death of his mother at an early age and an aborted education, Newton took to the waves and became a rough-and-tumble sailor who suffered the lash on his back and endured a stint as a white slave in West Africa. Shuffled from one vessel to the next by a Royal Navy that had press-ganged him into compulsory service, Newton eventually gained his freedom and captained a brutal slave ship until ill health forced him ashore. Back on land, Newton's earlier religious epiphany that came during a shipwreck blossomed into a rich spiritual life, in which he preached eloquently, wrote hymns (most famously, "Amazing Grace"), and became a principal in the growing movement to outlaw slavery in England. A compelling biography, this is highly recommended.
Gary Wilkinson is an independent Christian television producer and one who has been hard at work creating quite a list of excellent little church history documentaries. I recently received several of these DVDs and have very much enjoyed them, and perhaps especially the ones that deal with characters who are not quite so well known. I believe he currently has 5 DVDs for sale through Vision Video. I have watched and enjoyed the following:
John Newton - This documentary explores Newton’s life from his turbulent youth to his involvement in the 18th century African slave trade, his dramatic conversion aboard a sinking ship and on through his remarkable ministry as an evangelistic preacher, hymn writer and abolitionist.
Robert Jermain Thomas - A young Welsh missionary name Robert Jermain Thomas left the shores of Britain to minister God’s Word in China and Korea. His martyrdom would be the seed that would grow and contribute to the Korean revivals in 1903 and 1907. Be encouraged by his testimony and the growth of Christianity in Korea.
The Welsh Revivals - The revivals of 1859 and 1904 in Wales stand as powerful examples, marked by a commitment to prayer, bold preaching for repentance within the church, and a community-wide spiritual awakening. During this time, churches were packed, crime rates and other social ills decreased dramatically, and nominalism and dead orthodoxy were replaced by passionate love for Jesus. This documentary traces the origins of the revival, introduces us to its leaders, and follows its lasting impact upon the world.
Patrick - Learn about Patrick’s extraordinary life in this docu-drama, featuring enlightening interviews with noted scholars and captivating reenactments of Patrick’s life.
The other one is Outpouring of the Holy Spirit - A small group of believers earnestly prayed for Revival in England at the beginning of the twentieth century. Little did they know how God would answer that prayer - an answer that would impact the church worldwide. This revival would lead to the birth of Pentecostalism in Britain and awaken people to a new relationship with God.
I always find it difficult to spend $11 or $12 or $15 on a DVD that is just 30 minutes or an hour long. I think DVDs like this are just waiting for a download distribution model that can negate the physical costs and the shipping costs. In the meantime, though, these films are perfect for buying, watching and then either passing around or donating to your church library. Each one contains a powerful testimony of what the Lord has done through a life or at a particular time in history. I’m grateful for Wilkinson’s labor of love and am glad to recommend these documentaries. http://www.challies.com/resources/church-history-dvds
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