What Newton remembered in disagreements

I well know, that the little measure of knowledge I have obtained in the things of God has not been owing to my own wisdom and docility, but to his goodness. Nor did I get it all at once: He has been pleased to exercise much patience and long-suffering towards me, for about twenty-seven years past, since He first gave me a desire of learning from himself. He has graciously accommodated himself to my weaknesses, borne with my mistakes, and helped me through innumerable prejudices, which, but for his mercy, would have been insuperable hindrances: I have therefore no right to be angry, impatient, or censorious, especially as I still have much to learn, and am so poorly influenced by what I seem to know. I am weary of controversies and disputes, and desire to choose for myself, and to point out to others Mary’s part, to sit at Jesus’s feet, and to hear his words. And, blessed be his name, so far as I have learned from him, I am favored with a comfortable certainty. I know whom I have believed, and am no longer tossed about by the various winds and tides of opinions, by which I see many are dashed one against the other. But I cannot, I must not, I dare not contend; only as a witness for God, I am ready to bear my simple testimony to what I have known of his truth whenever I am properly called to it.

-John Newton, “Letter to Mrs. John Thornton,” Letters of John Newton, 273.

Author: Jonathan P. Merritt

Happily married father of six. Lead pastor at Edgewood Baptist Church (Columbus, GA). Good-natured contrarian, theological Luddite, and long-suffering Atlanta Falcons fan. A student of one book.

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