Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2009-03-04

British journalist and former Member of Parliament Jonathan Aitken will receive the 2008 John Pollock Award for Christian Biography given by Samford University's Beeson Divinity School.

The award will recognize Aitken's book, John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace. The book chronicles the life of the 18th Century Anglican clergyman and former slave-ship captain who is the author of many hymns, including "Amazing Grace."

Aitken will lecture on his own life and spiritual journey during a convocation Thursday, March 12, at 10 a.m. in Reid Chapel. The public is invited.

A former news correspondent, Aitken was first elected to Parliament in 1974 and served briefly in the mid-1990s as chief secretary to the treasury, a Cabinet position. His political career ended in 1999 when he was sentenced to prison for perjury in a civil case. During his seven-month incarceration, he rediscovered the Bible and his faith, and became a student of Christian theology.

Aitken's writings include Charles W. Colson: A Life Redeemed (2005), Nixon: A Life (1993) and his autobiography, Pride and Perjury (2003). He is co-author with John Piper of Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce. 

The Pollock Award is named for the British author of more than 30 books on religion, the majority of them being biographies of Christian leaders. Beeson established the award in 2001. Prior recipients include writers Stephen Graham, Alan Jacobs, Francis Bremer, George Marsden, Kevin Belmonte, Joseph Pearce and Timothy Dudley-Smith.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.