“This is the hardest book I have ever read but the most beneficial book in my ministry”. This was the first phrase that left my mouth when I finished On Guard: Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse at Church by Deepak Reju and published by New Growth publishing. This thought was followed by “How did we get to this point?” “How are people so carnal?” As a followers of God we know in our minds that we are totally and radically depraved by sin. Furthermore we know that we can only sin without the aid of the Holy Spirit given to us because of the atonement of Christ for our salvation. Yet even though this may be common knowledge we do not always see the depth of the that depravity played out in our homes, workplaces, or churches. Sadly it is this line of thinking that makes us not live in reality. The reality is that child abuse is happening all around you and the abused as well as the abusers are people you know, which is the scariest yet truest detail of all.
In On Guard Reju not only explains the reality of child abuse but details the sings and the symptoms of it. He goes though a very detailed, yet necessary explanation of what constitutes child abuse and how to report it. He further explains how it may be prevented and how most of our churches are blissfully unaware of the reality of abuse. He progress this argument by removing an old stereotype “stranger danger”. This myth states that it is a stranger who usually wants to abuse a child, yet in most cases it is usually a trusted person or family member in your life.
After this explanation he continues by explaining in the practical manner how you must go about reporting child abuse, that it must be done as soon as it occurs. Thankfully Reju does not leave the reader there but goes into a in-depth, yet very practical, section on preventing child abuse in your church or ministry. While some of these steps may seem drastic and intense they are needed to properly protect a child from this disturbing yet very real problem.
I can not understate the importance of this book, it is a necessity to every pastor, ministry leader, parent and child care professional. You need to know how to prevent and respond to child abuse for it is not a question of if you will have a child in your ministry who is or was affected by it, it is a question of when. While it is so sad the situation that we have found ourselves in, we must not stick our heads in the sand but attack this sinful problem head on so that our children may be in a safe environment which they can have the gospel presented to them.
A few years ago (2015), Reju taught a series of lectures at my seminary (Reformed Theological Seminary: Charlotte) called “Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse int he Church. This lecture is on the above reviewed book, yet he explains the concepts in the book even further, making them even more practical.
I implore you to listen to these lectures (3 hrs in total) they are found in the links below.
Lecture Landing Page: http://subsplash.com/reformtheosem/l/5f8f3d6/
- Lecutre 1: http://subsplash.com/reformtheosem/v/d96670f/
- Lecture 2: http://subsplash.com/reformtheosem/v/95f7292/
- Lecture 3: http://subsplash.com/reformtheosem/v/48a5bf6/