Timeline Introduction

Introduction: Growing Families International [GFI] has been controversial within the Christian church for a long time. With the publication of Babywise, the Ezzos extended their influence into the secular world.

Purpose: To illustrate that the present-day controversy surrounding Ezzo is the consequence of longstanding patterns of behavior and questionable advice.

Why Read This? To avoid repeating history and to evaluate the Ezzos' suitability to provide guidance in infant care and parenting.

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Ezzo's Email and MacArthur's response

GCC Elder Phil Johnson's Informal FAQ provided the text of the email that had been alluded to in GCC's Statement:

Here is what Ezzo wrote:

Grace is in great transition now. Lance Quinn, John's assistent walked out on him a few weeks ago. He will be leaving in two weeks. Many of the staff have gone amillinial in their escatology, and this has created more problem. Dave Maddox VP at the college and a number of other high ranking staff members there have called it quiits. Pray for the situation. The old Grace Community is no more. Many of us remeber it in its hay day, when we set chairs outside the auditorium because we had no more room to put the people on the inside. Now, there plenty of room. Anyway, if you can remember to pray for Grace that the Church will close out its years with dignity. [Errors in original.]

Johnson wrote, "Every statement in that paragraph is demonstrably false (see below), and there is no reasonable possibility that Gary himself could have believed these things true. In other words, these were lies, not exaggerations or misunderstandings. The donor, understandably troubled to read such things, forwarded the message to a counselor at Grace to You and asked if Gary's remarks were true."

September 1, 1996 John MacArthur wrote the following to Gary:

I know you cannot really believe these things to be true. In fact virtually every sentence of the above paragraph is false.

  • Lance did not "walk out" on me. [Lance Quinn, Senior Associate Pastor of Grace Church, left in 1996 to become senior pastor of a church in Little Rock.] He left with my blessing and with nothing but a deep mutual love between us...Lance would not have left at all without my blessing....
  • Not one person on the church staff has ever "gone amillennial."
  • Dave Maddox's departure from the college has nothing to do with Grace Church, unless Dave has told you something he has never said to me....
  • In all the years you have been at Grace Community Church, we have never had to set up chairs outside to accommodate overflow crowds. The church's attendance leveled off when the worship center opened and has not declined since then.
  • This Sunday, on a holiday weekend that traditionally has seen low attendence, we had capacity crowds for both morning services. ...The bleak picture you paint of Grace Church is simply untrue.

Key Documentation

Excommunication Statement

Statement about Ezzo - Materials

Statement about Ezzo - Character

"The Cultic Characteristics of Growing Families International"
(originally titled "More than a Parenting Ministry")

(orginally titled "A Matter of Bias?")

Unprepared to Teach Parenting?

Babywise Publisher Plans Contract Cancellation

Media Alert

Guide to Abbreviations

GFI--Growing Families International, The Ezzos' for-profit company

CRI---Christian Research Institute, a leading Christian cult research and apologetics teaching organization

GCC---Grace Community Church, the large church pastored by Dr. John MacArthur where Ezzo was employed and from which he launched GFI. GFI materials that refer to Ezzo's "10 years as Pastor of Family Ministries in Sun Valley, California " are referring to this experience.

LHEF---Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship, Ezzo's place of worship after leaving GCC, pastored by Ezzo's friend and former GFI staff member Dave Maddox.

CT---Christianity Today, a well-respected monthly news and features magazine

GKGW--"Growing Kids God's Way", the centerpiece of the Ezzos' parenting curriculum, usually studied in weekly classes for 18 weeks.