Home Christian News Scott Sauls, Author and Nashville Pastor, Placed on Indefinite Leave of Absence

Scott Sauls, Author and Nashville Pastor, Placed on Indefinite Leave of Absence

If Sauls is suspended by the group, he would not be able to carry out the duties of an ordained minister.

Sauls is not the first pastor in Christ Presbyterian’s history — or in the presbytery —  to deal with conflict over his leadership.  In 2007, the Rev. Ray Ortlund left the church after three difficult years as pastor.

“Maybe the least value-laden way to say it is this: A group of people in the church made it their purpose that I would not be their pastor any longer, and they succeeded in their purpose,” Orltund told the Gospel Coalition years later in describing the crisis that led to his departure.  “It just about took me out.”

In 2016, the Rev. Jim Bachmann, longtime pastor of nearby Covenant Presbyterian Church, another Nashville PCA congregation, was suspended by the presbytery for “inflicting severe injury on the peace and purity” of the church, the Tennessean reported. Bachmann had been fired by his church after several years of conflict.  In 2018, a denominational court overruled the presbytery on appeal.

Earlier this year, the Illinois Human Rights Commission charged a PCA church with a civil rights violation over the firing of a staff member. The state of Illinois had previously found “substantial evidence” that Naperville Presbyterian Church, a PCA church led by Ray Ortlund’s son Dane had retaliated against a longtime female staffer after she filed a discrimination complaint, Christianity Today reported.

Concerns about pastoral conduct and leadership styles have come under increased scrutiny in recent years in the aftermath of the controversies involving megachurch pastors such as Mark Driscoll and Bill Hybels and in the wake of “The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill,” a hit 2021 Christianity Today podcast that detailed the dysfunctional and abuse culture that Driscoll created at the now-shutter Mars Hill Church in Seattle.

Conflicts at other churches, including Echo Church in California and Hope Church in Texas, have also led to allegations that church conflicts led to spiritual abuse.

Churches have also begun to rethink the top-down corporate leadership style popularized by pastors such as Hybels, who looked for inspiration to corporate leaders such as former General Electric chairman and CEO Jack Welch when it came to how to lead.

This article originally appeared here.