John MacArthur comments on Gary Ezzo's break with Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship

On July 25, 2000, John MacArthur wrote a letter that he would like to be publicly available to those researching Gary Ezzo and his parenting materials:

The following is the 9-14-2000 revision of that statement and has been approved of by Grace's board of elders.

Gary Ezzo and GFI

Almost three years ago, the elders of Grace Community Church issued a public statement about Growing Families International (GFI) and Gary Ezzo. In addition to several concerns about the extra-biblical content of GFI materials and divisive tendencies in the GFI program, we also initially voiced some rather significant concerns about Mr. Ezzo's personal character.

Specifically, we reported that he had shown a pattern of resisting accountability, and that he was not always truthful. (We had become aware of several instances in which Mr. Ezzo twisted the truth, ranging from a false claim that he held a degree he had never really earned, to the spreading of false reports about our church in a manner that appeared to be deliberately divisive.)

Mr. Ezzo subsequently met with one of our elders and expressed a desire to rectify our major concerns about his character. He assured us that he was making himself accountable to a group of men he trusted--the pastor and elders of Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship (LHEF).

In the interest of seeking peace, we issued a revised and abbreviated version of our public statement. In that revised statement, the concerns we had raised about Mr. Ezzo's integrity and accountability were no longer expressly mentioned, pending further action on Mr. Ezzo's part to mitigate or allay those concerns. After the revised statement was issued, however, Mr. Ezzo made no further attempt to address the larger concerns we had raised about his personal character.

Recent events have greatly troubled us and reminded us of the difficult and often painful duty that is ours as overseers who must warn the flock about divisive influences (cf. Acts 20:28-32). Recently, we learned that Mr. Ezzo has been excommunicated from LHEF.

Only the barest details about what led to LHEF's discipline against Mr. Ezzo have been made known. We have nonetheless been able to verify that LHEF's discipline of Mr. Ezzo involves the very same issues we raised in our initial public statement: Gary Ezzo's lack of truthfulness and his refusal to be held accountable. It is not without significance that the men who have excommunicated him are the same men to whom he claimed to be making himself accountable. This has clearly become a pattern of behavior with Mr. Ezzo. LHEF is at least the third church Mr. Ezzo has left with questions pending about his character.

It appears rather obvious on biblical grounds that Mr. Ezzo's refusal to heed his own church's discipline disqualifies him from Christian leadership or public ministry in any context. After all, the first and most important qualification for those who would lead the church is that they be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2, 10; Titus 1:6).

We believe Scripture demands that unrepentant sin in cases such as this should not be covered up or handled in secret (cf. Matthew 18:17; 1 Timothy 5:20). Regretfully, therefore, we also need to state that the concerns we initially raised about Mr. Ezzo's character were never satisfactorily addressed by him.

We are deeply saddened to have to make such a statement, but because Mr. Ezzo was once an elder in our church, we believe we have a particular duty to sound a clear warning to the church at large about an influence that continues to be divisive.

Board of Elders
Grace Community Church
Sun Valley, CA

Commentary on the new Grace Statement about GFI

It is perhaps worthwhile to point out that until Grace makes it clear that their earlier statement was in error (which they haven't), they still are willing to fully stand behind it. If they felt that they were in error in any substantial way, they would have made it quite clear in their revision.

In fact, in Phil's comments, he writes about issues of character:

"we are praying that the time will come when it might be possible to say that all those concerns have been fully resolved"

which makes it quite clear that there has been no resolution of the character issues raised by Grace in October, including:

  • Ezzo's "repeated tendency to avoid accountability" with the Elders and Pastoral staff at Grace
  • Ezzo's willingness to make "exaggerated and even false accusations against his critics"

As Ezzo built his credibility on Grace's reputation, the fact that they've issued a I Tim 5 public rebuke of him at all should cause one to pause before simply chalking this one up to a simple disagreement between believers.

  • 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.

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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
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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