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Nashville Presbytery Indefinitely Suspends Scott Sauls, Pastor Already Put on Leave by Church

scott sauls
Screenshot from YouTube / @scottsauls

Less than a week after Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, announced it had placed Scott Sauls on indefinite leave, a local denominational body indefinitely suspended the pastor. During a special meeting on May 12, the Nashville Presbytery voted to bar Sauls from any ministry-related duties until further notice.

The suspension comes amid concerns about a toxic workplace culture—something Sauls admitted to in a video shown to congregants on May 7. “I verbalized insensitive and hurtful criticism of others’ work. I’ve used social media and the pulpit to quiet dissenting viewpoints,” he confessed. “I’ve manipulated facts to support paths that I desire.”

Current leaders at Christ Presbyterian reportedly received a letter from a former staff member who described high turnover and alleged that Sauls cultivated a difficult working environment. That led to investigations by the church and by the Nashville Presbytery.

Scott Sauls Remains Pastor of Christ Presbyterian

Scott Sauls, 55, remains pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church. But according to Tennessean reporter Liam Adams, church members were told that during Sauls’ suspension, “The pulpit will be filled with elders and preachers in our family.”

According to The Tennessean, the Nashville Presbytery won’t interview witnesses during a “trial” for Sauls, probably because he is not disputing the allegations. The governing body, comprised of local pastors and elders, formed a committee “for Scott’s care and shepherding,” explained a tweet from byFaith magazine.

That official publication of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) added: “The [Nashville] presbytery emphasized that there has been no alcohol or substance abuse, theft, violence, broken marriage vows, or anything related to pornography or sexual sin.”

Sauls, who served with Pastor Tim Keller in New York City before coming to Christ Presbyterian in 2012, is also an author and speaker. He has appeared several times on the Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast, discussing topics such as authenticity, accountability, character, and brokenness.

Pastor Had Advocated for ‘Christianly Gentleness’

The PCA’s Book of Church Order sets forth disciplinary actions ranging from suspension to excommunication. Sauls’ suspension is significant due to his stature within the denomination.

Christ Presbyterian was the first PCA church in the Nashville area and has been involved in several PCA church plants. The church indicated it won’t be commenting on personnel issues. When ChurchLeaders emailed Sauls for comment, an automated response stated, “I am currently on leave for rest, renewal, and personal growth.”

Reporter Adams wrote that Sauls has benefitted from many connections within conservative evangelical circles. “He’s built a reputation advocating for a Christianly gentleness as a response to public outrage,” he added.

Sauls’ books include “A Gentle Answer,” “Jesus Outside the Lines,” and “Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen.”