Amazing Grace

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#384: “Amazing Grace”
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Theme
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1 Peter 2:24
24He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
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Amazing Grace
“Amazing Grace” is episode #384 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by Doug MacIntosh, and originally aired on December 6, 1997.

Summary

Whit tells Cody Carper the story of John Newton, writer of Amazing Grace.

Plot

Cody comes to Whit's End, frustrated that he cannot come up with a topic for his school report on a famous person. Whit is behind the counter and agrees to help Cody, asking him when the report is due. When Cody replies that it was due today and yet his teacher wasn’t mad that he wasn’t finished, Whit tells him that his teacher showed him grace.

To illustrate God’s grace, Whit tells him the story of John Newton. John was born in England in 1725, the son of a captain in the British merchant fleet and became an experienced sailor by the time he was a teen. John was in love with a girl named Mary Catlett, who was a strong Christian. John’s mother was a devout Christian, but died when he was young, making John want nothing to do with Christianity. Mary was unwilling to commit to John for this reason. As they parted, Mary gave John a Bible to take with him when he went to sea.

While on an excursion, John was taken captive and pressed into service for the British Navy, where he served two years on a warship. When he discovered that he would not be allowed to leave the ship while it was in England, he tried to escape and was flogged. John eventually ended up on a slave ship, but prospered there, becoming captain of his own ship at the age of 23.

Though successful, John felt restless and began to read the Bible and other Christian books despite mocking from his crew. A huge storm hit his ship one day and John cried out to God for deliverance while tying himself to the ship’s wheel to steady it. After being delivered from the storm, John realized it was God who saved him and committed his life to Christ. Eventually he set his course for the Catlett home in Plymouth. Mary, who had been praying for John daily, happily agreed to marry him.

John later became the rector of an Anglican church in Olney and began writing poems and songs, including "Amazing Grace." Finally, he became a pastor in London, where he influenced William Wilberforce, who led the fight to end slavery in England. John died in 1807, at age 82.

Cody decides that this story is what he should write his report on and entitles it "Amazing Grace."

Discussion Questions

  1. Why couldn't Mary marry John Newton?
  2. What made John believe that there was a God?
  3. What's your favorite hymn to sing?
    • Do you know the story behind it?

Cast

Role Voice Actor
Captain Barbary Walker Edmiston
Blainie Unknown
Mr. Catlett Unknown
Cody Carper Landon Arnold
Mr. Fortum Nathan Carlson
John Newton Ian Whitcomb
John Whittaker Paul Herlinger
Mary Newton Unknown
Mr. Spivey Unknown

Notes

  • VERSION DIFFERENCE: The album version added a number of conversations and scenes to this show. In the album version: Lines are added in the scene with the captain, John, and the captain of the merchant ship and when Whit and Cody are talking about what happened to John. Whit's narrations are longer. The entire scene with Mary's father is included (and not even referenced in the broadcast version). The scene where John and his first mate talk about how bad of a man John is includes mention of drinking. The hymn at the end of the show is longer.
Trivia
  • STAR TREK reference: A person (who has a Scottish accent like "Scotty") says "The ship can't take much more of this, captain."
  • This story was made into a Radio Theater production.

Quotes

Cody Carper: I still can't think of who to do this report on.
John Whittaker: Well, how about something to do with grace?
Cody Carper: You mean Mrs. Hawkins?

Slave Driver: Think you could learn to use a whip as well?
John Newton: I've felt a whip. I'd rather use it on others than have it used on me.

Cody Carper: So what happened to him? I haven't heard anything worth doing a report about.
John Whittaker: Just hold on. This story isn't over.

Choir: When we've been there ten thousand years/Bright shining as the sun/We've no less days to sing God's praiseTthan when we've first begun!