Kuhlmanns in Ezzo's response

Excerpt of GFI response to CRI article

This is an excerpt from Growing Families International's public response to the Christian Research Journal article about GFI's parenting programs. GFI's public response is no longer available online.

Ezzo's Response to CRI's More than a Parenting Ministry Article

Example Four: "Questions Unanswered or the Questioner Attacked"

CRJ [article] (Pg. 19) "Ezzo has written to people who question him calling them 'primitivistic,' 'marsupial,' 'prideful,' 'disgruntled,' and 'theologically naive,' among other adjectives. After reading PFP thoroughly, Joel and Kathryn Kuhlmann wrote the Ezzos with questions quoting liberally from PFP and the Bible. Their letter was returned with Gary Ezzo's handwritten margin comments . . ."

[Ezzo's] Response:
It is difficult to respond specifically to these allegations, because Terner and Miller did not provide any context, let alone a single complete sentence in regard to Mr. Ezzo's use of these terms to support their claim. The Ezzos have all the letters on file and are more than willing to sit down with Mr. Hanegraaff and a neutral third party to review the context in which these words appear.

Notwithstanding, is there anyone who is in public ministry who does not wish he or she could retract a statement? Or thought that a response should have been longer or shorter; less direct, or more direct? The Ezzos certainly feel that way as they look back over the many years of their ministry. That is just another reason why they realize the need for continual prayer and for God's wisdom.

However, we do take issue with the Kuhlmann example. Terner and Miller used the Kuhlmanns as a couple humbly seeking answers to their legitimate questions and "quoting liberally from PFP and the Bible." Their letter, according to Terner and Miller's comment, "was returned with Gary Ezzo's handwritten margin comments . . ." (CRJ Pg. 19)

Was this an accurate representation of the Kuhlmanns? Consider these facts. First, much of what the Kuhlmanns wrote did not come directly from PFP, but rather it came indirectly from a compilation of misquotes and false statements circulating among La Leche League/attachment parenting internet bulletin boards. As such, Mr. and Mrs. Kuhlmann simply passed on someone else's misquotes that circulate frequently among these groups.

Second, even though the Kuhlmanns had no children at the time (although they were considering adoption), Pastor Richard Encinias, one of our GFI state directors, gave the Kuhlmanns several hours of his time answering their questions.

Given that so much time was already spent answering questions, we found it unusual for a couple to be so insistent that Gary Ezzo respond personally to their letter. Our interests in this couple were further sparked by the inadvertent receipt of an e-mail to Mrs. Kuhlmann from Mrs. Kathy Nesper of Apple Tree Family Ministries (Oct 4, 1996) and a note hand written from Kathy Kuhlmann to a staff member at her church named "Chip." The following interchange puts the entire Kuhlmann matter into perspective. In her e-mail, Mrs. Nesper wrote:

Dear Joel and Kathy [Kuhlmann]

"I am one of those with whom Lisa Marasco has shared your letter to Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo. I'm Kathy Nesper, president of Apple Tree Family Ministries. . . ATFM teaches a more attachment-type parenting style as biblical . . . Now you said, I think, that you'd managed to turn the version GFI returned to you, with their hand markings on it, into a PDF file as well and you'd forward it once we had managed to expand the unmarked-up version. So may I ask you PLEASE to send us the marked-up version before we all go into fits of curiosity or something. If you send it to me, I'll forward it to others. . . I would particularly like to share it with Chuck Smith's daughter at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa. . ." (All emphasis in the original.)

In response to this e-mail, Kathy Kuhlmann out of fear that this group would be discovered, wrote the following:

"Chip--This is the e-mail note we left you last week. As I mentioned, we received a request from the writer (Kathy Nesper) that her name and ministry not be shared and the same with any mention of Chuck Smith's daughter. This is the only document and piece of information I respectfully ask you not to share. . . we do not want Gary Ezzo to have their names and know of their involvement. Thanks Kathy."

Scripture teaches that there are times to answer questions and there are times when answering is not the right thing to do. GFI receives hundreds of questions every week. Though they wish they could, the Ezzos cannot possibly personally respond to all of these questions. Sometimes GFI staff sense that the questioner's motives are not honorable. But, because man cannot see the heart as God does, the Ezzos and/or GFI personnel typically offer help anyway. In rare occasions, such as this one, impure motives surface. In those situations, an honest answer does not cause the tension to go away. When the questioner is not genuinely seeking truth, we have found that tensions increase the more effort we expend in attempting to answer their questions.

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