It Happens In The Church

I grew up in the church. Some of my favorite memories come from the time I spent there — Sunday school, AWANA, VBS, youth group, and fellowship meals. For hours we would play hide-and-seek, run up and down hallways, and occasionally sneak a peak at the baptismal pool hidden under the front stage. I was surrounded by people who knew my name, cared about me, and taught me a lot about the Bible and Jesus. With childlike innocence I never had any reason to suspect someone in the church would want to hurt me. It was a place where I felt comfortable and safe.

When I was six years old I escaped the church service one Sunday morning. Admittedly, I often did this when the pastor began his message. It was a convenient way to try and get the minutes to pass by a little quicker. While I was making use of the restroom a man from the congregation came in. He stood in the corner and I figured he was waiting his turn. When I had finished washing my hands he told me to come over to him. With naïveté I did. As I moved close to him he put his hands down my pants. He smiled at me…he smiled. I promptly returned to the pew to sit with my parents.

…Unfortunately, many pastures have become hunting grounds where children are preyed upon, and where shepherds turn their back to the wolves that would devour them. Across the spectrum — Roman Catholic to Protestant, evangelical to confessional, well-known to obscure, urban to rural, big to small — these so-called shepherds are more concerned for themselves than they are for the flock. Victims aren’t heard or cared for. Perpetrators are given a long leash or quietly moved to the side. Situations go unreported to civil authorities, and cover-ups eclipse the terrible reality. Men who are more concerned about their reputations and influence; who are more concerned with keeping up appearances than doing what needs to be done aren’t worthy of the name “shepherd.” They’re cowards, they’re fearful, and they’re weak. Read more»

Kyle Borg, “What If They Had Known?” Gentle Reformation (March 5, 2021)


    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

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  1. I work for a large mission organization. A number of years ago leadership started a program and installed protocols to protect children and find and deal with abusers – pedophiles. At the time I was supportive and continue to be, but now I rejoice to be part of an organization that makes the protection of children a very high priority. I think that all our reformed confessional bodies need to make such education if they haven’t already done so.

  2. Keith…. no program works if people refuse to prosecute their friends or family or mentors or guild brothers or political party members or $$$-churners in a given organization.

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