Miscellaneous Thoughts is a remarkable document clearly demonstrating the profound theological and vocational seriousness that Newton was devoting to every aspect of his calling.
Considering that its author had never attended any sort of Bible college, seminary, or university course in theology, the journal displays a high degree of biblical knowledge and spiritual maturity. It also reveals a deep humility in Newton, whose self-examination concluded in a decisive commitment to surrender himself to God's service. Any candidate for an ordained ministry in the twenty-first century could well profit from studying the process John Newton put himself through two hundred and fifty years ago, in ‘Miscellaneous Thoughts’.”
Jonathan Aitken, author “John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace”

“John Newton's life and ministry constitute one of the most inspiring Christian stories of all time. Having experienced Amazing Grace, he was able to preach, teach and write about this and reflect it in all of his ministry. John Newton's reflections therefore on the nature and execution of Christian ministry remain as relevant today as they were during his own moment in history. The opportunity through this venture to sit at his feet once again is not one which should be missed.”
Michael Cassidy, Founder and International Team Leader, African Enterprise

“As I am seeking to enter the pastoral ministry, I was given a copy of Newton’s ‘Thoughts’ to read. I found them both challenging and humbling, yet at the same time encouraging and inspiring. Newton said it well: Who is sufficient for these things?”
Ben Hutton, prospective ministerial student, Kent

“John Newton's letter on ‘A Call to the ministry’ is about the best human guidance you can get on this subject so his expanded ‘Thoughts’ are just blessing on blessing. To dedicate this to Tim Hoare who gave about the wisest support and kindness to those in the ministry is a joy to see.”
Simon Manchester, Rector St Thomas’ Church, North Sydney

“Even the smallest knowledge of John Newton makes us long to be like him! To have his balanced blend of personal and doctrinal purity; to see, as he did, sinners won for Christ, saints edified, and fellowships gathered; to have that composed largeness of mind that holds in unity denominational and personal conviction alongside undenominational and respectful loving and active oneness with all who exalt the word of God, preach the gospel of Christ crucified, and love the person, work, and name of Jesus. Newton's Miscellaneous Thoughts cannot but move every reader on in such longings. He writes, of course, in the spacious style of his day, but with compelling clarity. His 'seriousness' — a serious mind, not a dullness of spirit, emotion or expression — rebukes all shallowness or thoughtless haste as we enter upon divine things or Christian service. In these pages a man of deep spirituality, wide scriptural knowledge, and an unusual depth of longing to serve God ponders the nature of a true calling, the proper balancing of urgency to 'get going' and patient preparation for the Lord's signal, the place and nature of necessary gifts, and the objectives at which our ministry should constantly aim. These thoughts should be required reading for all Christians in the light of our common calling to holy living and holy testimony, but specially for those who are given the unspeakable privilege of 'full-time service’, whether they are in their early days, or, like me, wishing I had read these miscellaneous thoughts sixty years ago.”
Alec Motyer, formerly Principal Trinity Theological College, Bristol

“How unworthy and unlikely was I to preach that faith which I had renounced and scorned! What difficulties were in the way, which thou only couldst remove. But thou didst it; and hast now supported me in it thirty-eight years, restraining me from those evils and errors which might have hurt my character and prevented my usefulness, and from which, nothing short of thy power and grace could restrain a heart so vile as mine.”
John Newton, Rector St Mary Woolnoth, London, 4 August 1802

“It is hard to believe that any Christians, wondering if God was calling them to ordained service, ever meditated on relevant Scriptures so perceptively, and recorded their discernments so luminously, as did John Newton. His journaling of his journey towards vocational certainty is a very precious part of the legacy of this great man of God.”
James I Packer, Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver

“Last year, during Oak Hill’s weekly faculty meeting, I recommended the draft online version of Newton’s Miscellaneous Thoughts to my colleagues, so now I’m particularly delighted to see it available in print. What are the differences ‘between a minister and a private Christian’? How may one discern a true call from the Lord? Which gifts of character and skill are most necessary to ‘ordained’ ministry? Newton’s ‘Thoughts’ on these subjects are full of biblical wisdom, personal humility, and godly common sense. They remind us that our Lord’s power ‘is made perfect in weakness’, and encourage us to pray with Newton, ‘Canst thou not turn me and mould me, frame me and strengthen me as thou wilt?’ The author may be long since gone to glory, but the issues are still very live ones. This little booklet would make an excellent gift for anyone considering or about to enter life ‘in the ministry’. It would provide a spiritual stimulant for anyone already committed to such a life.”
Marian Raikes, (formerly) Dean of Women and Pastoral Studies, Chaplain Oak Hill Theological College, London

“I have benefited personally very significantly from reading both the writings of John Newton and biographies of his life. I was delighted to hear of Miscellaneous Thoughts and its publication. Miscellaneous Thoughts contains many of Newton's reflections on what it means to consider and be immersed in the Lord's service. It will provide deep encouragement and enabling both for those thinking about the ministry and those engaged in it. I am sure it will be of great benefit to many.”
William Taylor, Rector St Helen’s Bishopsgate, London


Marylynn Rouse, 19/03/2015