Seminary Dropout 81: Scott Sauls, Author of ‘Jesus Outside the Lines’


Scott Sauls serves as senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Scott’s planted churches, lived in the big city (NYC), and speaks at church conferences and retreats.

affiliate linkIn his first book Jesus Outside the Lines, Scott dissects the issues that keep us apart and points out that Jesus almost never fits within the lines of either side the culture wars. He cuts through the caricatures we often use to dehumanize each other and shows how each side of many issues has some valid concerns but ultimately each tend to neglect some part of the Gospel message.

Some things we talk about on the show…

…the concept of “outrage porn”.

…the role of social media in our divisions.

…loving people and extending kindness to those with whom you disagree.

…Scotts story of a fellow pastor he worked alongside and agreed on almost nothing.

…Jesus’s strong words for the Pharisees.


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4 thoughts on “Seminary Dropout 81: Scott Sauls, Author of ‘Jesus Outside the Lines’

  1. Thanks for posting this interview, Shane. I think that engaging people with different beliefs with grace while still holding personal convictions is really important for Christians. I think Scott and I would disagree on a lot of theological issues, but hopefully if we were talking about them over a beer we could avoid arguing. I’m not familiar with Scott’s work beyond this interview, but it sounded like he believes there is only one straightforward “Christian” way to interpret Scripture on issues of homosexuality, salvation, and probably others. I have to disagree. 

    Is certainty about convictions the same thing as having a mature faith? I think there is room for Christians to hold different convictions, each of which can be derived by reading the same Scripture. I’ve gone to a Presbyterian Church of America in the past, but am more familiar with the Presbyterian Church (USA) tradition, which recently voted to allow ministers to perform same sex marriage ceremonies and to give churches the option to allow same sex marriages in their buildings. There are many in the denomination who did not want this change, and some are leaving, but most are staying. The concept of mutual forbearance, in which we can disagree while still respecting each other and seeking the mind of Christ, is really important for the Church to get along with itself. That sounded super denominationally specific, but I think it applies to any Christian individuals or groups of Christians interacting with one another. Thoughts? Am I being unfair to Scott? 

    By the way, I think it’s really cool that you can interview Peter Rollins, Scott Sauls, and Christians all over the spectrum on the same podcast. It helps me poke my head out of my theological bubble, which would be really easy to stay in.

  2. SteveTheTubist Thanks Steve!

    I think I agree with what you’re saying. It depends on what you mean by “only one straightforward “Christian way to interpret Scripture”. Many times our interpretations are mutually exclusive, so we can’t both be right. In your example of sexual ethic (I realize you were speaking more of a specific issue regarding performing ceremonies, but I think the sexual ethic is the underlying issue), both sides can’t be correct. However, I think what you’re saying is that we need to give each other the benefit of the doubt in trusting that we are both trying to honestly interpret scripture as best we can, and I would agree with that. 

    I think Scott had an interesting challenge here in writing this book. He wanted to show how Jesus didn’t fit within either side of the culture war but to do that he obviuosly has to show where Jesus/the Bible stands on certain issues. If I had a small critique of the book it would be that Scott didn’t differenciate between “the interpretation” and “his interpretation”. It’s a little nit-picky and I don’t think that a progessive would have made that distinction either, but still it would have been nice. Obviously we all believe our interpretation is correct to a degree or we wouldn’t hold that interpretation, but even when I believe someone to be very wrong in their interpretation, I still have to give them the benefit of the doubt that they arrived there honestly. 
    Thanks for appreciating that variation of guests. It’s funny when people think they know where I am theologically based on my guests. I just think almost everyone is worth hearing out.

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