John Newton (“Amazing Grace”) and Harriet Tubman (“Moses”)

Greg Strand – March 10, 2018 Leave a comment

One of the things I appreciate about regularly reading the Bible and church history is to see how God has faithfully preserved his people through his Word. There is much I learn through this discipline/exercise – about God and his plan and purpose,  his grace and mercy, the ugliness of sin, the grandeur of grace, the transformative power of the gospel manifested in the lives of people, his faithfulness, and that he is, in the midst of trials, tribulations and tragedies of life,  working out his sovereign plan as he moves history toward his promised, glorious end.

On this day, we remember two interconnected events/experiences, in the lives of two sinners saved by grace, in the lives of a white man and a black woman, separated in time but connected by God, which reflects God’s good providence in creating one new humanity. This also reminds us of God’s call and command to be faithful to the Lord where we are in our own generation, both large and/or small, being assured God will, in some way and at some time, use it for our good and his glory.

On this date, March 10, 1747, John Newton (1725-1807), while a sailor on a slave ship, was converted. He eventually left his former life and became an Anglican pastor. Newton penned Amazing Grace, which was truly an autobiography, and reflective of God’s grace working to transform his life. He became a zealous abolitionist, referring to himself as the “old African blasphemer,” and was influential in the life of William Wilberforce (1759-1833), who worked to abolish the slave trade in England, which occurred in the Slavery Abolition Act three days before Wilberforce died.

On this date, March 10, 1913, at 93 years of age, Harriet Tubman died. Born Araminta “Minty” Ross, Tubman had been a slave and experienced the full brutality of slavery. With a believing mother, she also came to believe the gospel as a young girl. With the aid of the Underground Railroad, she fled to freedom on September 17, 1849. Not being content with her own freedom, and being aided again by the Underground Railroad, she led 13 missions to guide many slaves to freedom. She was referred to as Moses, since she, like Moses, led her people to freedom.

What is God calling and commanding you to be and to do? How will you be faithful to him as you faithfully live out that God-given role in the here and now, knowing God will use it both now and in the there and then?

Greg Strand


Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

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