Regarding John Newton (1725-1807) Curt Daniel writes that he
“was another leading Anglican Calvinist…was an Anglican pastor with a wide ministry of letters. They were not simply the usual correspondence (‘Wish you were here’), but a unique combination of devotions and theological exhortation. Many of these were collected and published in the volume entitled Cardophonia (‘voice of the heart’). They make excellent reading.
Newton also wrote several popular hymns, such as ‘Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken,’ ‘How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds,’ and what became probably the most popular hymn of all time, ‘Amazing Grace'” (Curt Daniel, The History and Theology of Calvinism, p. 96).
In his Review of Ecclesiastical History, John Newton writes:
“Not any or all the evils which the world has known afford such proof of the dreadful effects and detestable nature of sin, as the knowledge of Christ crucified. Sin had rendered the case of mankind so utterly desperate that nothing less than the blood and death of Jesus could retrieve it. If any other expedient could have sufficed, his prayer that the bitter cup might pass from Him would have been answered” (John Newton).
In the context of the “so utterly desperate” case of mankind “that nothing less than the blood and death of Jesus could retrieve it,” Newton had written:
“If any other expedient could have sufficed, his prayer that the bitter cup might pass from Him would have been answered.”
Given the context I provided above, is John Newton necessarily implying that the prayer of Jesus Christ was NOT answered? Further, is John Newton necessarily implying that Jesus Christ’s prayer reflected a temptation to NOT do the will of Him who sent Him, and to finish His work” (cf. John 4:34)?
Here is a very important passage regarding Jesus Christ’s prayer to God the Father “that the bitter cup might pass from Him”:
“who in the days of His flesh [was] offering both petitions and entreaties to Him being able to save Him from death, with strong crying and tears, and being heard from [His] godly fear; though being a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and having been perfected, He came to be [the] Author of eternal salvation to all the [ones] obeying Him, having been called out by God [as] a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:7-10).
The Hebrews passage says that Jesus Christ’s prayer WAS answered. The bitter cup DID pass from Him through the obedience of suffering (Hebrews 5:7-10; cf. Philippians 2:8). At the cross He drank the bitter cup of damnation dry for all whom He represented, and was raised from the dead on their behalf (Romans 8:34).