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Ginny Kubitz Moyer Answers:
No. The words to the song were written by Englishman John Newton, a slave trader, as a response to a powerful conversion experience. After a terrifying storm at sea, Newton realized that it was only by God’s grace that he would be saved; these sentiments later became the basis for the song, which was written in 1772. The Library of Congress website has a good explanation of the story behind this popular hymn.