Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Monday, June 30, 2014

30 June 1758 A.D. Birth of James Stephen--Wilberforce Ally & Abolitionist

30 June 1758 A.D.  Birth of James Stephen--Wilberforce Ally & Abolitionist

Graves, Dan. “James Stephen and Battle to Abolish Slavery.”  May 2007.  Accessed 5 May 2014.

James Stephen had a law practice in the West Indies. One day, he witnessed two black slaves accused of rape and condemned on the flimsiest evidence. They were burned alive. This so horrified Stephen that he began a correspondence with the famed slavery abolitionist William Wilberforce. Secretly he provided Wilberforce with information about slavery in the islands. In time, Stephen would become a leader in the Clapham sect, a group of mostly evangelical Christians working with Wilberforce. He wrote several influential books against the slave trade.

Born on this day June 30, 1758, Stephen struggled through financial difficulties to get an education. As a young man he did not seem a likely candidate for leadership in any evangelical group; engaged to be married to one woman, he betrayed both her and his closest friend, fathering an illegitimate child with his friend's fiancé. His manners were coarse, his language rough, and he flew into sudden rages.

However, after meeting with Wilberforce, he became a true follower of Christ. When his his first wife died, he married Wilberforce's sister, Sally. Wilberforce wrote, "Stephen is an improved and improving character, one of those whom religion has transformed and in whom it has triumphed by conquering some natural infirmities." Meanwhile, Stephen had been elected to Parliament and was a close ally of Wilberforce in the fight against slavery. (At a crucial moment in the abolition battle, his beloved wife Sally slipped on ice and broke her leg; it grieved James Stephen that he had to leave her ill-attended rather than let the cause down in Parliament.)

It was Stephen's fertile mind which came up with two ideas that helped break the deadlock over ending the slave trade. The first of these was during the struggle with Napoleon. He suggested extending anti-slavery language to a bill which was certain of support because it was viewed as a war measure, designed to stop neutral ships from delivering cargoes to France. (This bill so infuriated the United States that it led to the War of 1812.) His second proposal was a bill to require registration of all slaves in British possessions. This never passed, but it brought to light so many abuses that it swung public opinion against slavery.

Stephen became Master-in-Chancery, a lawyer for the government. Enemies sneered that this was a pay-off for his support of abolition. In 1815 Stephen resigned his Parliamentary position when the government would not support the registry bill. He died in 1832, and is now assessed as the most important member of the Clapham Sect second only to Wilberforce himself.


1.      Brown, Ford K. Fathers of the Victorians; the age of Wilberforce. Cambridge University Press, 1961; especially p. 370.

2.      Larsen, Timothy, editor. Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals. Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2003.

3.      Lean, Garth. God's Politician; William Wilberforce's struggle to abolish the slave trade and reform the morals of a nation. Colorado Springs: Helmer and Howard, 1987; especially pp. 66, 103, 105 - 106, and 169 - 70.

4.      Page, Jesse. Samuel Crowther; the slave boy who became bishop of the Niger. London: S.W. Partridge & Co., 1888. Source of the image.

5.      Pollock, John. Wilberforce. New York: St. Martins, 1977, especially pp. 189, 200 - 203, 249 - 50, 252, 284, 304 - 5.

Last updated May, 2007.

30 June 1468 A.D. Birth of 1st “Protestant” Prince of Germany, “John the Constant” Frederick 1, Signator of Diet of Speyers & Augsburg Confession, and “Champion of the Reformation”

30 June 1468 A.D.  Birth of 1st “Protestant” Prince of Germany,  “John the Constant” Frederick 1, Signator of Diet of Speyers & Augsburg Confession, and “Champion of the Reformation”

John of Saxony (30 June 1468 – 16 August 1532), known as John the Steadfast or John the Constant, was Elector of Saxony from 1525 until 1532. He was a member of the House of Wettin.



Born in Meissen, he was the fifth of the seven children of Ernest, Elector of Saxony and Elisabeth of Bavaria.

The deaths of his older brothers Ernest (1513) and Albert (1484) made him the heir of his brother Frederick the Wise; when he died in 1525, John inherited the title of Elector. As his nickname "The Steadfast" indicates, he resolutely continued the policies of his brother toward protecting the progress of the Protestant Reformation. In 1527 the Lutheran Church was established as the state church in Ernestine Saxony, with the Elector as Chief Bishop. He was a leader of the Schmalkaldic League of Protestant states formed in 1530 to protect the Reformation.

Guldengroschen of Saxony, c. 1508-1525. The obverse shows John's older brother, Frederick, while on the reverse, John is portrayed face to face with George, Duke of Saxony.

He died in Schweinitz. After his death he was, like his brother Frederick, buried in the famous Castle Church in Wittenberg with a grave by Hans Vischer. He was succeeded by his eldest son John Frederick.

Marriage and children

In Torgau on 1 March 1500 Johann married firstly Sophie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, daughter of Magnus II, Duke of Mecklenburg. They had one son:

John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony (b. Torgau, 30 June 1503 – d. Weimar, 3 March 1554).

In Torgau on 13 November 1513 John married secondly Margaret of Anhalt-Köthen. They had four children:

Maria (b. Weimar, 15 December 1515 – d. Wolgast, 7 January 1583), married on 27 February 1536 to Duke Philip I of Pomerania-Wolgast

Margaret (b. Zwickau, 25 April 1518 – d. Rumlingen, Switzerland, 10 March 1545), married on 10 June 1536 to Hans Buser, Baron of Liestal.

John (b. and d. Weimar, 26 September 1519)

John Ernest, Duke of Saxe-Coburg (b. Coburg, 10 May 1521 – d. Coburg, 8 February 1553).


[show]Ancestors of John, Elector of Saxony
17. Catherine of Henneberg-Schleusingen
1. John, Elector of Saxony
31. ?either his 1st wife, Miroslawa of Holstein-Plön,
or his 2nd wife, Margaret of Jülich

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to John, Elector of Saxony.


John, Elector of Saxony
Born: 30 June 1468 Died: 16 August 1532
Preceded by
Frederick III
Elector of Saxony
Succeeded by
John Frederick