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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John MacArthur's letter to Gary Ezzo

A photocopy of this letter, dated July 18, 1995, was attached at the end of GFI's (Gary Ezzo's org) lengthy public response to Grace Community Church in November of 1997. Emphasis added.

"....At this point I think the best approach to take for the sake of unity and to decrease the workload of everybody embroiled in this constant dialogue is to put these things to rest. I don't feel it's productive to debate over terminology but I do think we have to recognize what are the issues at hand. Let me summarize them:

1. We all agree on the doctrinal statement of GCC. I know you are honestly committed to that statement as expressed in What We Teach so in my mind we're not dealing with issues of foundational doctrine. I don't question your theology.

2. We're not dealing with an issue of motive. Everyone wants to serve the Lord as best they can and be as true to the Word as possible.

What we are dealing with is differences in understanding some applications of biblical truth, differences in terminology, a certain conflict over what is biblical and what is non-biblical (preferential). What is most important is that submission, love, forgiveness, humility, kindness and support prevail and I haven't always seen that on your part. Though the issues here are certainly between brothers who hold the same sound doctrine, it's really an old story, Gary. I'm still grieved about unkind statements, innuendos and sarcasm. All each of us can do is be certain our own heart is right before the Lord and all the rest will work out even with those with whom we have a disagreement.

You and Anne Marie have been a blessing to so many. Your teaching and material has so much to commend it and I trust with careful attention will become better so that it has even a greater impact. There's no desire on our part to be anything other than precise with Scripture and thus to honor the Lord.

Regarding what we sell at the Book Shack, I'm quite confident that if all the books there were subject to this level of scrutiny and held to the standard of what is required of pastoral staff members and elders of Grace, our shelves would contain fewer volumes. But we understand that there's good to be gained in those books with which we do not agree in every point. But when someone is an elder at Grace or a staff member and there is some disagreement, that creates a different issue. I think that's what we have been trying to deal with.

Also the whole transition to Stuart Scott's leadership from what was a strong profile as you've had is a difficult transition and when you add the whole scenario and other relational difficulties in which it appears that you and all the people in your ministry were pitted against church staff, it compounds the issue.

I received your resignation with a measure of regret but believe it is the right alternative. Let me encourage you to be continually supportive of our leadership as you now place yourself under the authority of the men the Lord has shepherding the flock here at Grace.

I love you brother and thank the Lord for you and Anne Marie....I want to see it be everything it can be and I don't want to burden you unnecessarily. At this point I think further dialogue might constitute unfair burdening. Carry on and expect that our staff will use whatever they feel is most beneficial....

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.