Christian Leaders & Organizations Voice Concerns About Ezzo Programs

The following is a partial list of Christian leaders and organizations that have publicly stated their concerns about the Ezzos and/or their parenting curricula.

Dr. James Dobson, President, Focus on the Family, Radio Broadcast August 25, 1999: in response to on-air question. Focus on the Family Transcript of Dobson's Remarks

Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, authors of Boundaries, Boundaries with Kids, Raising Great Kids, and others.

Dr. Kevin Leman
, author: written statement to inquirers.

Steven Arterburn, founder of New Life Ministries, response to questions on New Life radio show.

Father Val. J. Peter, Executive Director, Boys Town, Nebraska: letter to Our Sunday Visitor, April 1998.

Rev. Chuck Smith, founder of the Calvary Chapel movement and host of The Word for Today radio program; commentary on radio broadcast of "To Every Man an Answer", January 9, 1998, September 21, 1998.

Dr. Ralph Winter, founder of the US Center for World Mission

Dr. Philip Ryken, author and senior pastor, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia: article at

Dr. John MacArthur, pastor-teacher, Grace Community Church: Public Statement about character issues and the Ezzos' excommunication from Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship, July 25, 2000
Macarthur Comments on Excommunication

Dr. Tedd Tripp, author of Shepherding Your Child's Heart: internet comment

Dr. Randy Carlson, President, Family Life Communications, response to questions on Parent Talk radio show, January, 2002

Dr. Grace Ketterman, psychiatrist and author: cited in Terner and Miller, April-June 1998, listed above.

Dr. Brenda Hunter, author, comments in her book, The Power of Mother Love

Kevin A. Miller, editorial director, Christian Parenting Today magazine, November 2, 1998

Hank Hanegraaff, president, Christian Research Institute: commentary on radio broadcast of The Bible Answer Man, July 28, 1998, October 6, 1998, October 8-9, 1998, October 26, 1998, October 27, 1998, March 25-26, 1999.

Phil Johnson, elder, Grace Community Church and executive director, Grace to You radio broadcast: "Questions about Growing Families International, Grace Church, and Gary Ezzo," December 11, 1997. (A follow-up to the October 16, 1997 Grace Community Church Elders' Statement.) Also, a written response to questions about Grace Community Church's Statement dated December 11, 1997 is available at:

Rich Buhler, radio pastor and counselor: commentary on radio broadcast.

Kathy Eshleman, wife of the director of the Jesus Film Project of Campus Crusade for Christ: letter of concern, July 18, 1997.

Barbara Curtis, author, The Mommy Manual; Ready, Set, Read and other books: "Whose Way, After All?" June 16, 1996.

Rev. Doug Haag, pastor of family ministries, Evangelical Free Church, Fullerton (California): theological review in "Religious Parenting Programs: Their relationship to Child Abuse Prevention," presented by the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Orange County Parenting Program Review Committee.

Cynthia Henseler, Minister to the Family, at the 15,000-worshipper Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, pastored by Rick Warren.

Dr. Clifford Penner, psychologist and author: cited in "The Brave New Baby," by Thomas Giles, Christianity Today, August 16, 1993.  Brave New Baby

Rev. Marvin Warman, Mdiv, MFCC and Joyce Warman, Warm an' Loving Ministries: letter of concern, October 28, 1997. Rev. and Mrs. Warman teach pre-marital courses at Lake Avenue Congregational Church and lead marriage seminars throughout the United States.

Kathy Nesper, president, Apple Tree Family Ministries: cited in "A Matter of Bias? Examining the Response of Growing Families International to Criticism," by Kathleen Terner and Elliot Miller, Christian Research Journal, October-December 1998, pp. 32-42.

Rick McKinley, senior pastor, Imago Dei Community (influential post-modern church in Portland OR): Father's Day sermon 2007

Bob Bixby, pastor, Morning Star Baptist Church, blog post in 2006 and 2010
Growing Kids God's Way, Not Ezzo's (1) and Growing Kids God's Way, Not Ezzo's (2)


United Methodist Church--General Board of Discipleship: the board reviewed the material and will recommend that they not be used.

Focus on the Family: letter of concern regarding GFI, original letter 1993 with revisions at varying intervals. Although the wording of Focus on the Family's letter has varied, the organization has consistently stated that it does not recommend GFI's materials to its constituents.
Focus on the Family Letter of Concern

CareNet, umbrella organization for crisis pregnancy centers: letter to affiliated centers, December 1996.

Grace Community Church: "A Statement Regarding Gary Ezzo and Growing Families International by the board of elders of Grace Community Church." Gary Ezzo developed his materials while a staff member at Grace. The church has publicly disavowed all association with GFI. Original statement issued October 16, 1997:
Revised version: A Statement Regarding Gary Ezzo and Growing Families International

Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship: Elder's Statement Regarding Gary Ezzo's Church Discipline, Granada Hills, California. Public statement about character issues and the Ezzos' excommunication from Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship, Nov, 2000.

  • Professionals Say
  • Signs of Hunger
  • Recent Research
  • A Mom Says

Rosemary Shy, MD , FAAP
Director, Children's Choice of Michigan Ambulatory Pediatrics
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Wayne State University, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit, Mich

"It is dangerous to do it the way he describes," Pediatrician Dr. Rosemary Shy says of Ezzo's technique. "It puts these babies at risk for jaundice, at risk for dehydration, and at risk for failing to thrive, all of which we’ve seen." -- Wilson, Steve, "Baby Care Controversy," WXYZ-Detroit, November 14, 2004


Arnold Tanis, MD, FAAP
1999 recipient, John H. Whitcomb Outstanding Pediatrician Award, presented by the Florida Pediatric Society and the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

"There is no scientific basis whatsoever in their philosophy....It is contrary to what nature intended.

Read More

Watch Your Baby's Signs of Hunger

Although Babywise says to feed a hungry baby, it usually instructs parents to observe a time interval between feedings, or a certain order of events, such as only feeding the baby after she wakes up. There's another way to tell that your baby is hungry. You can watch your baby for her own signs of hunger.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends watching for the following early signs or cues by which your baby lets you know when she's hungry.

  • Small movements as she starts to awaken
  • Whimpering or lip-smacking
  • Pulling up arms or legs toward her middle
  • Stretching or yawning
  • Waking and looking alert
  • Putting hands toward her mouth
  • Making sucking motions
  • Moving
Read More

Maternal use of parent led routines associated with short breastfeeding duration.

Published Feb 12, 2014
Brown A, Arnott B (2014) Breastfeeding Duration and Early Parenting Behaviour: The Importance of an Infant-Led, Responsive Style. PLoS ONE 9(2): e83893. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083893

"Results: Formula use at birth or short breastfeeding duration were significantly associated with low levels of nurturance, high levels of reported anxiety and increased maternal use of Parent-led routines . Conversely an infant-led approach characterised by responding to and following infant cues was associated with longer breastfeeding duration."

Raising Emotionally Healthy Children - 2014 Video

This KET Special Report looks at the importance of social and emotional development in the first years of life, featuring experts on infant and child development in Kentucky.

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Our first child was born in the summer of 09, and I promptly began trying to apply the Babywise method. The book had been highly recommended by a distant relative, and promised structure and sanity amidst the exhaustion and upheaval I felt as a new mother. However, our baby did not respond the way the book promised he would if we followed the schedule. All my attempts to adhere to the book led to deep frustration, arguments with my husband (who knew better than to let a book dictate our newborn's schedule), feeling like a failure, and the worst--resentment of my infant. Why couldn't he sleep and eat like the book said he should be doing? The Ezzos presented their arguments as infallible.
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Babywise and Preparation for Parenting

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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