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God Had Other Plans

john saunders

John Saunders was born in 1806, the son of a London City Alderman, grandson of a London City Alderman. As a young man he was articled to an attorney and became a solicitor. Everything was in place for a successful legal or political career.

But God had other plans. Aged 17, John was baptised by immersion and began attending Cold Harbour Lane Baptist Church in Camberwell. Two years later he applied to serve in India with the Baptist Missionary Society.

But God had other plans. He declined the terms put before him and instead entered the University of Edinburgh to study for ordained Baptist ministry. Thereafter followed a time of fruitful pastoral ministry and church planting. Such was his success that by 1834, aged only 28, he was offered a seat in parliament.

But God had other plans. On the other side of the world a small group of non-conformists were meeting in the convict settlement of Sydney under the erratic ministry of a pastor who bore massive debts and struggled with sobriety. Some members of this fledgling congregation felt compelled to write to the Baptist Missionary Society in London seeking a more suitable pastor.

John Saunders, along with Elizabeth, his wife of four months, accepted the call and set sail for Sydney as chaplain of a ship transporting 144 female convicts. He arrived 1st December 1834. He planted the first recognised Baptist church in Australia (Bathurst Street Baptist Church- now Central Baptist) and had a massive impact for righteousness and justice in the early years of our nation.

God had other plans – plans for our good.