Amazing Grace

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Karen, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. Karen

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    This hymn was written by John Newton, ex-slave trader. I would hardly know where to begin to list the links to sites that detail his life.
    This song of grace "that saved a wretch like me" spoke of his profound gratitude that God could and did save a slave trader.
    Many historians say that what we know of slavery in the 1700's comes greatly from the writings of John Newton.
    He campaigned for decades for the abolition of the slave trade. He greatly inspired William Wilberforce, who struggled for 46 years in the British parliament to abolish slavery. This struggle was because of the calling of God on the lives of these men. Because of what they believed the Scriptures taught. Slavery was abolished in the British empire decades before it was abolished in the U.S. And peacefully.

    I strongly disagree with the view presented on these threads that slavery was not so bad, and it is just Yankeescum revisionists that teach that it was. And that abolitionists were nothing more than a type of secular humanist, Social Gospel, Bible-deniers.
    Don't remember the name, but John Piper has a book about the perseverance of Newton and Wilberforce.

    Karen
     
  2. Wisdom Seeker

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    I can see the value of the song, and who wrote it. God saves even the lowliest of sinners. That is a powerful and encouraging object lesson.

    But I am confused about a statement you made near the bottom of your post. "Yankeescum revisionist"? Isn't "Yankee" a term reserved for people who lived in the Northern States of America who opposed the practice of slavery all along? Their Southern State Compatriots fought hard in the Civil War to keep slavery...but wasn't all of this settled when the South lost the Civil War in 1865? Why then do you say ....it is just Yankeescum revisionists that teach that it was not so bad ?

    Am I totally confused here? This one point seems more revionistic from what I've learned about History. Unless I'm reading your comments incorrectly.
     
  3. donnA

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    Those who say it wasn't so bad have never had their wives and chirldren sold from them, never to see them again.
     
  4. dianetavegia

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    Back in the early 1950's my great grandfather Conway, who was nearing 100, used to tell us about his children by the slave girls. He had been an overseer on a plantation in the south and was allowed to use the girls for his enjoyment. One of his children had fallen into the fire and was badly scarred so that half his body was white. Papa Conway used to make jokes about his black baby turning white. Even as a tiny child, I knew he was an ugly, ugly man.

    So, I know for a fact that somewhere I have relatives who are of black descent.

    Diane
     
  5. Karen

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    Dear WisdomSeeker,
    I should have been more clear. I am a descendant of three Civil War soldiers from the North, one of whom died in battle at 26.
    I was trying to disagree with Dr. Bob, who has used the term Yankeescum, and who has said that revisionists have falsely made slavery out to be worse than it was.

    Slavery was sinful and dreadful.
    The Godly lives of men like Newton and Wilberforce and how they fought against slavery are quite educational. They lived through those times and gave every thing they had to the fight against slavery.

    Karen
     
  6. Wisdom Seeker

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    Oh I see. Glad to know that I wasn't losing my mind. ;)
    All I can say is consider the source. ;)
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    Hey Hey Hey. American slavery was a terrible evil. I would not want to be a slave OR a slave owner for the damage it would do.

    That said, the issue of slavery usually centers on two extremes - abolitionists had to paint it in the most horrific terms possible, with total disregard for Scripture that talks about slaves and their relationship with their masters (good or bad). They get their information from Douglass, Stowe and Alex Haley's "Roots" - all of which were taking the grossly extreme and making it look like the norm.

    The other is the revision Southran that think slavery was a lark, a way to give the Gospel to the ignorant negroes who would otherwise have stayed in Africa and gone to hell, and the atrocities were "staged" to justify the aggression of the North over the South.

    Methinks the truth is in the middle. And without question, much closer to the southern than the northern version of the "truth".
     
  8. rlvaughn

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    I just want to point out two things.

    1. In some of the threads discussing slavery and scripture, a few of the persistent attackers of slavery in America have admitted that they do not believe the concept of slavery is morally evil, just the way it was practiced in America. So it is not just all people on one side or the other that are making confusing statements on the issue of slavery.
    2. Believing the Scriptures teach a Christian slave should obey his/her master is not necessarily equivalent to thinking slavery was/is not bad.
     
  9. LadyEagle

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    http://www.epinions.com/content_79912603268

    Wintley Phipps has a voice smooth as silk. First saw him singing "It is Well with My Soul" at the National Prayer Breakfast. Then saw him again on the Bill Gaither video above & thought I'd share this tidbit about "Amazing Grace" with you, hoping to find this on the Internet. [​IMG]

    Click here to hear Wintley Phipps sing "Amazing Grace" - you'll be blessed ! [​IMG]
     
  10. donnA

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    It would be nice if someone did a thread of hymn history, you know different hymns, I always enjoy those. Anyone know a site to read that at?
     
  11. dianetavegia

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    YES! Joshua Rhodes is already doing it over in the music forum and you can read about the hymns here.

    http://www.cyberhymnal.org/

    Click on a title to view the info and sometimes pictures. PLUS, you'll 'hear' the song too.
     
  12. rlvaughn

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    Mr. Phipp's story is nice, but I believe it is not historically accurate. There is no reason to suppose there was ever any connection during John Newton's life between the current common tune and the hymn currently called "Amazing Grace." Newton entitled his hymn "Faith's Review and Expectation," and it first appeared in Olney Hymns in 1779. Another incorrect idea that is sometimes presented is that the original hymn had 14 or so stanzas. In fact, the original had six stanzas - the three, sometimes four, that are commonly used today, and two or three that are seldom used in denominational hymnals. The fourth verse often found - "When we've been there ten thousand years" - was not written by Newton and seems to be first associated with Newton's hymn in E. O. Excell's Coronation Hymns in 1910. The three often missing verses are:

    The Lord has promised good to me,
    His word my hope secures;
    He will my shield and portion be
    As long as life endures.

    Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
    And mortal life shall cease,
    I shall possess within the veil,
    A life of joy and peace.

    The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
    The sun forbear to shine;
    But God, who called me here below,
    Will be for ever mine.


    Though it might be argued that the first three or four stanzas are the best, leaving Newton's hymn intact allows us to see "Faith's Review" (first 3 verses) and "Faith's Expectation" (last 3 verses). That is, by faith he reviews what grace has done, and tells what he expects it yet to do. Verses 3 & 4 are somewhat pivotal, moving from what God has done, to what He will do.

    Concerning the pentatonic scale - Phipps is correct that the melody is pentatonic (a five-tone scale), but this doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the black notes on the piano. For example, a pentatonic scale starting at middle C would be entirely on the white notes of the piano. In terms that I can understand - the standard scale is 7 tones, "do, re, me, fa, sol, la, te, (and octave do)." The pentatonic scale uses only 5 - "do, re, me, sol, la, (and octave do)." This is very common, not only in Negro Spirituals, but white American folk tunes as well. As far as the history of the tune commonly wedded to the words "Amazing Grace," I believe the words of William J. Reynolds still echo the most accurate knowledge to date, that it is "an early American melody of unknown origin...It became exceedingly popular and, bearing such names as NEW BRITAIN, HARMONY GROVE, SYMPHONY, SOLON, and REDEMPTION, it appeared in most of the oblong tune books published in the South in the nineteenth century (most important probably being the "Southern Harmony" [1835] and the "Sacred Harp" [1844], rlv). The transfer of this tune from the 'oblong' to the 'upright' collections may have been the work of R. M. McIntosh..." This does not rule out slave origins for the tune. In fact, the Cowper and Newton Museum claims it was an old plantation melody: "The Americans did two things for it. The first was that they set it to the tune of an old plantation melody entitled 'Loving Lambs'." But any connection of the tune to John Newton is pure speculation at best. The C & N Museum also says, "Newton did not write any music for his hymn, as at that time in the established Church, hymns were chanted rather than sung." There is a new book by Steve Turner - Nov. 2002 - about "Amazing Grace" (see link below for info, but price is better at Amazon).

    Some links
    On Amazing Grace from NPR
    Amazing Grace: The Story of America's Most Beloved Song
    Texas Baptist layman helped make 'Amazing Grace' popular
    The Cowper and Newton Museum - Amazing Grace
    Amazing Grace: The Story of John Newton

    And if you can stand to read an "anti" Amazing Grace person who calls the theology of the hymn heretical and despises the music of the tune, try:

    Amazing Grace, John Newton, Calvinism
     
  13. rlvaughn

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  14. LadyEagle

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    Oh, blech! Yuk! Bah, humbug! [​IMG] Thanks a heap, Robert. [​IMG]
     
  15. rlvaughn

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    CLICK HERE for another hymn by John Newton in which he uses the demoniac of Gadara to represent how God's amazing grace saved "a wretch like me."
     

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