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‘2023 Has Been Hard’—Scott Sauls Reflects on ‘Chasing Platform, Power, Likes, Follows’ in First Blog Post Since Resignation

Scott Sauls
Screengrab via YouTube / @Christ Presbyterian Church

In his first blog post since resigning as pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church (CPC) in Nashville, Tennessee, Scott Sauls reflected on Advent, influencer culture, and “chasing character more than chasing reputation.”

Sauls, who had been pastor of CPC since 2012, was placed on indefinite leave in May amid concerns about a toxic workplace culture—something Sauls admitted to in an apology video shown to congregants.

“I verbalized insensitive and verbal criticism of others’ work,” Sauls said in his apology. “I’ve used social media and the pulpit to quiet dissenting viewpoints. I’ve manipulated facts to support paths that I desire.” 

“I am grieved to say that I have hurt people,” he added. “I want to say to all of you that I am sorry.”

Later that same month, Sauls was indefinitely suspended by the Nashville Presbytery, which provides denominational oversight within the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). As part of his suspension, Sauls was barred from performing any pastoral duties, including writing for his blog. 

None of the allegations against Sauls involved sexual or financial impropriety, nor did they involve alleged substance abuse. Nevertheless, former and current CPC staff members accused Sauls of cultivating a difficult work environment, resulting in high staff turnover.

The allegations against Sauls came as something of a surprise to some, as Sauls has built his platform, in part, by writing extensively about the topic of Christian gentleness. 

In addition to his successful writing career, Sauls had also grown CPC to multiple campuses and became a prominent figure among American evangelicals. 

Following a six-month hiatus, Sauls tendered his resignation as pastor of CPC in November. The congregation accepted his resignation, with 81% of members voting in favor of it. 

On Sunday (Dec. 3), Sauls published an article to his Substack page for the first time since the public controversy surrounding his leadership began. 

In the article, Sauls recounted a mentor once urging him to “attempt great things for God.”

“But there can be a fine line between attempting ‘great things’ for God and attempting those same things for oneself,” he reflected. By contrast, Sauls described Jesus’ incarnation, writing, “After making galaxies, apple trees, eyeballs, and fingerprints by the word of his power, he made his own debut on earth as an infant born of teen parents with meager means and the vulnerability of migrants.”