GROWING KIDS GOD'S WAY
Biblical Ethics For Parenting
by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo
Fourth Edition; 16th Printing; Summer 1997
"Growing Kids God's Way" (GKGW) is the flagship manual of the Ezzos' series on parenting. Subtitled "Biblical Ethics For Parenting," its 300-plus pages are filled with extensive discussions on the philosophies and principles unique to the Ezzos' "parenting stratagem." The first two manuals in the series, Preparation For Parenting and Preparation For The Toddler Years, deal extensively with many of the practical details of baby life. This manual, by comparison, zeros in on "How to Raise a Moral Child" (the title of Chapter One).
It is important to realize is that GKGW really can't be taken without acceptance of the first two curricula (Prep). This is mentioned because parents and pastors have been heard to say, "Well, we don't agree with Prep, but GKGW is okay by itself." In several places, however, GKGW discusses the foundation that must be laid in order to implement it, and it refers the parents back to Prep if they feel that the proper foundation has not yet been laid. This in turn means accepting the premises put forth in Prep, including accepting the belief that mothers do not have a mothering instinct, that our children are by nature depraved to the point that we cannot trust them to know what is good for themselves in any circumstance, and that the parental relationship is always to be put before the children. GKGW cannot be separated from its Prep siblings; it is a foundation stone in the philosophical building of Growing Families International (GFI) and cannot stand alone. (Source: Lisa Marasco, "GROWING KIDS: Is it God's Way?")
The Ezzos state their objective this way in the Introduction:
"... it is our desire to show you through Growing Kids God's Way the practical side of biblical truth. God gives the precepts, Anne Marie and I will attempt to show you the many shades of application" (p. 9).
Some of the prominent themes throughout the manual are: Morality and character development; the father's responsibilities; discipline and chastisement; the child's moral conscience; obedience; etc.
Points of Concern:
A. In the Introduction, the Ezzos write:
"While Biblical doctrine provides the basis for parental standards, Scripture has very few specific mandates for practical applications. Guided by the Holy Spirit, parents have the ultimate responsibility and duty to research the parenting philosophies available today to determine if they are in line with Scripture" (p. 15).
1. Again, the Ezzos start off another one of their books with this standard disclaimer regarding the Bible (cf. Preparation For Parenting, p. 19); i.e., that it doesn't really have a lot to say on the subject of child-rearing. This disclaimer serves to discourage parents from turning to the Word to seek information. Also, we are concerned that the Ezzos do not effectively communicate that general Biblical teaching on the Christian life will directly impact parenting practice.
2. The Ezzos tell parents to evaluate parenting philosophies available today. Considering most extra-Biblical parenting philosophies are psychologically-oriented, this is not sound Biblical advice. If, as the Ezzos suggest, the Scriptures are short on specifics (which they are not), what is the frustrated parent to do? The Ezzos suggest looking at available parenting philosophies to cull the principles and strategies that seem to line up with Scripture. What about asking God for wisdom? The Ezzos should have encouraged parents to open up their Bibles, express to God their need, and ask Him for wisdom (James 1:5). Is the Holy Spirit given to us to teach us God's wisdom from the Scriptures, or simply to help us sort through the philosophies within our world?
B. To introduce the need for the parent to be involved in training the heart of the child, the Ezzos offer a few words on the nature of man. Though they appeal to conclusions of conservative and reformed theologians, their own explanations seem weak and unconvincing:
"At one time, human nature had no taint of sin; now sin stains it. ... The Fall of man did not strip him of his basic God-given dignity, nor did it reduce man to something less than what God created, but man's nature is now subject to inherent depravity" (p. 23).
"Parents then, are responsible for presenting a moral code with the hope it will eventually govern their child's life. In early training, a child's heart is like a clean slate, not with regard to moral propensity but to specific moral content" (p. 108).
1. Ezzo speaks of the dignity of man but offers no Scriptural definition of that "dignity." When we read that the natural man is, in God's eyes, alienated from God, a child of wrath, and God's enemy (Col. 1:21: Eph. 2:3); we wonder where "dignity" fits into the equation. [Ezzo's view of the "dignity of man" is more in line with the teachings of R.C. Sproul than the Bible (see In Search of Dignity:1983 and The Hunger For Significance:1991).]
2. Ezzo presents us with a literary puzzle when he curiously states, "The Fall of man did not ... reduce man to something less than what God created ..." To the contrary, the term "The Fall" has been used historically as a theological term to indicate the drastic declination in man's condition compared to his original state.
3. The condition of spiritual death into which man has fallen is never developed. Ezzo talks about depravity in terms of a "taint of sin," "the propensity of sin," and "incurably selfish," but nothing about spiritual death. (In his sinful condition, man is spiritually dead.) It is unfortunate that this was not mentioned for it is highly significant to a discussion on parenting. It is the awareness of spiritual death that will provide the parent with the commitment to pray and labor for the regeneration of the child. It will be the awareness of spiritual death that will keep the parent from having unrealistic expectations about the child's own abilities to perform morally and ethically.
4. The crux of GKGW philosophy is the belief that a child's heart is molded by external factors, and it is molding by the parents that will lead the child to Christ. Rebelliousness in teenagers is seen largely as the result of poor parenting methods/discipline, and salvation, though not stated as such, appears to be more the result of "good" parenting than of God's grace. If we embrace classical Christianity and the doctrine of salvation by grace, should we also be embracing a parenting method that seems to imply that it is our parenting as much as it is God's grace that will bring our child to salvation? Yes, parents bear heavy responsibility for the outcome of their children, and God's ability to reach even the most difficult child seems diminished by the parental burden. But one must ask, what, then, is the role of the Holy Spirit, in salvation? Is it He or us who brings our children to repentance? The Holy Spirit seems minimized, even lost, in this context (Source: Lisa Marasco, "GROWING KIDS: Is it God's Way?").
5. A secondary concern here is that, in the end, it seems that behavior modification is what is really being taught as the key to success and Christianity. Once again, we walk a fine line in questioning this application; behavior modification is a long-accepted tool of child raising, and has become especially popular in Christendom. But it should be rejected by those desiring to parent with a Biblical mind-set.
6. A true understanding of human depravity -- of our total inability to choose good over evil in the spiritual realm and our blindness to the things of God until He regenerates us -- will render almost ridiculous the argument that infant scheduling could offer any sort of answer to this human condition. The suggestion that we, as parents, can train the hearts of our children and bring about a condition of spiritual inertia and somehow take control of our children until God takes control is not only presuming upon the sovereignty of God but presuming that we can somehow do that which only He has power to do -- change the heart of a child. (Source: Family Issues page; Rebecca Prewett Internet Web Site, 6/98.)
C. The Ezzos share the popular psychological viewpoint of divine love. It is a viewpoint that misreads God's love and reinterprets it with humanistic psychology's concept of love. They write these words directed to the believer:
"... you have an owner, Jesus Christ. To Him you are absolutely precious. You are so precious that He left the splendor of heaven to come to die for you" (p. 39).
1. Ezzo confuses things by stating that God considers His redeemed children to be precious now, and He considered them to be precious in their pre-salvation state as well. Theologically, this viewpoint fails to adequately clarify the distinction in man's condition (and God's view of that condition) before and after salvation. Before salvation, man was a sinner (Rom. 5:8), at enmity with God (Rom. 8:7), unable to please God (Rom. 8:8), and under His wrath (John 3:36). Compare that with the Biblical wording that describes the believer.
2. It is this pre-salvation "preciousness," according to Ezzo, that motivated God to send His Son to die for us. This humanizes divine love. This is how the world loves. Human, worldly love responds to something that is perceived to be desirable and precious. God's love is infinitely higher. His love is not externally motivated by anything desirable He sees in unregenerate man. Rather, in spite of man's worthlessness, rebellion, wickedness, and rottenness (Isaiah 64:6; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:23), God's love flows outward from within His own infinite and eternal character to wash us, save us, and bestow on us innumerable blessings and benefits.
3. Ezzo's view of man's worth is what can be best described as "shopping mall" theology -- that the value of an object is equal to the price paid for it. This "theology" goes something like this: "The death of Christ on the cross is God's price tag on the human soul; it means we really are somebodies, that we are of great value to God. After all, why would God pay such a great price if we're not worth it?" On the contrary, the Bible teaches that Christ didn't die for somebodies but for sinners. The price He paid on the cross does not establish my personal worth, but instead, was required to meet the claims of divine justice. In fact, the greater the price the costlier my sin, not the greater my worth! That the sinless Son of God had to die upon the cross to redeem me is not anything that should make me feel good about myself, but instead humbled and ashamed, for it was my sins that nailed Him there. How could that fact possibly validate my preciousness and build up my self-esteem? (Adapted from Beyond Seduction.]
D. In the second chapter, entitled "Law, Principle, And Freedom," the Ezzos discuss how to determine what to do in "the gray areas of life -- the non-absolutes of Scripture." They instruct us to use both the laws and principles of the Scriptures to guide us in our behavior and in the behavior of our children. They go on to say, however, that there will be some actions in the course of life that will not have an applicable law or principle to guide us. They write:
"Areas of freedom result when there is no law or principle to fall back on. You
are left with God, your conscience, and 1 Corinthians 10:31. ..." (p. 50)
"Even though God's laws and principles are unchanging, areas of freedom can change from day to day. ... In our family we personally made those gray area decisions by classifying them into three categories: that which is biblically best, biblically acceptable, and biblically tolerable ..." (p. 50).
1. The Ezzos seem to conclude that there are some actions which fall outside the laws and even the principles of Scripture. We disagree, because, though there may not always be a specific law for every specific in life, there will always be applicable principles (2 Pe. 1:3).
2. We're suspicious of the use of the three categories: "biblically best, biblically acceptable, and biblically tolerable." Where in the Bible are we encouraged to make decisions utilizing this spurious three point checklist? Is this three-step mental exercise really of spiritual value? Shouldn't we always be encouraging our families to do the Biblically best thing all of the time?
3. In this section on the "gray areas of life," the Ezzos do not encourage families to ask God for wisdom (James 1:5) nor to seek the inner guiding ministry of the Holy Spirit.
E. Regarding terminology: According to the Ezzos, the right approach is "parent-centered parenting." The wrong approach is "child-centered parenting." Simply put, the problem with the child-centered approach is that (1) parents do not make a priority of their husband-wife relationship, but focus instead on their roles as mom and dad; and (2) they make the child the center of the home.
"The greatest overall influence you will have on your children will not come in your role as a dad or mom but as a husband or wife. Our society has forgotten and even rejected that basic biblical truth. The result is a society consumed with child-centeredness, which is the precursor to self-centeredness" (p. 58).
"Often parents leave their first love, each other, and focus extensively on their children" (p. 64).
1. When the Ezzos use the term "child-centered parenting," one would assume they are using the term after making an observation of the typical American family. But is this really an accurate assessment -- that the average unsaved family is child-centered? To us, the opposite is apparent -- the chronic plague of many homes is that parents are self-centered. Parents, as individuals, are preoccupied with themselves, their careers, their pursuits, etc. Children across America are being neglected, ignored, and at earlier ages placed under the care of others as parents pursue their own selfish interests. Unfortunately, even in the Christian home, training and discipline is often neglected, and children are allowed to do pretty much as they please. This is clearly a problem of self-centeredness.
2. We need to remember that godly homes are not established simply by changing the focus in the home from child-centered to parent-centered. While we agree with the Ezzos that a good strong marriage relationship is a tremendous benefit to the home, that in itself is not the key to a God-honoring home. It is entirely possible for a couple to be focused on their relationship together, and yet still be spoiling their children and failing in the responsibilities of discipline and training in the Scriptures.
3. In claiming to redress the wrong of child-centered parenting, the Ezzos offer instead a model of self-centered parenting. Parents of infants are advised to institute a rigid three-hour feeding schedule -- "God's Way" as the Ezzos see it, because God created an orderly universe. The main object seems to be to get the baby on a schedule so as to cause as little inconvenience or disruption of the parents' lives as possible. (Source: "Whose Way, After All?" by Barbara Curtis.)
4. On the subject of focus (with all the discussion of parent-centered versus child-centered homes), would it seem too trite and rudimentary to ask why the Ezzos do not place more emphasis on having a Christ-centered home? Shouldn't this theme have more prominence in such an extensive parenting manual for Christian homes?
F. On pages 67-68, the Ezzos offer five practical suggestions to help parents become a parent-centered home. The suggestions include such ideas as "couch time," weekly date nights, buying gift for spouse when buying for child, inviting friends over for fellowship, and maintaining relationships developed before children were born. These same five ideas are recorded in most of the Ezzos' manuals, indicating their importance in the Ezzos' "parenting stratagem."
1. Though the Ezzos mention the need for balance, we're concerned that these suggestions may lead some Christian parents away from a true Biblical and sacrificial love for their children to an attitude much like the world's. It is self-centeredness that causes many unsaved parents in our society to regard children as an interruption and disruption of their pursuits and interests as individuals and as couples. Even in the church, we sometimes see an absence of the kind of Biblical, sacrificial love that results in parents committing themselves to the time and work of Biblical training and discipline.
2. Many couples experience a significant change in their activities and lifestyle when children arrive. Many take this in stride and, with a sense of maturity, feel completely comfortable with sharing love for spouse with child. For many of them, it means that some pre-children activities are curtailed or even brought to an end. But this change was anticipated and accepted, and now enjoyed. To follow some of these five suggestions by the Ezzos, for many, is unnecessary and unwelcome. Love for spouse was never sacrificed for children, but rather it was deepened. And the rich adventures of being parents together make the efforts to revert back to those pre-children days seem artificial, hollow, and immature.
G. On page 75, Ezzo states emphatically that "Love is expressed through emotional languages." We question this. Love may at times be accompanied by emotion (and we hope that it is!), but it must not be dependent on emotion. There will be times when Biblical "agape" love must persist even when unloving emotions reside within.
H. Chapter Four is entitled "How To Say I Love You." In this chapter, the Ezzos develop a system of communicating love based on what they call "love languages." A footnote on page 75 indicates most of this material comes directly from two books: The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman; and How To Say I Love You, by Judson Swihart. According to this material, there are five love languages that parents need to know about:
1. Encouraging words
2. Acts of service
3. Gift giving
4. Quality time
5. Physical touch and closeness
According to the Ezzos, "... one of the deepest emotional desires we have is to feel loved" (p. 74). Ezzo teaches that parents naturally love their children, but need to be educated in how to communicate that love, and that each of us has a primary love language (one of the five) which becomes recognizable in a child at age seven (p. 82) -- "Your primary love language is evident in two ways: You speak it more often than the other languages, and you feel most loved when it is spoken to you." Ezzo contends that it is incumbent on the parent to learn the primary love language of each child, and to communicate love to each child in his respective primary love language. It is also asserted that "the arrangement of your love languages is God given and not learned" (p. 83).
1. This significantly developed system of communicating love has no Biblical basis whatsoever. (It does have much in common, however, with the writings of psychologizer Gary Smalley; e.g. The Language of Love.) No Biblical passage develops the concept of primary love languages. Though the Ezzos attempt to use a few verses for support, the context of those verses never even remotely suggests this kind of pseudo-Christian psychological system.
2. The love language concept is an example of a needs-based psychological system (again, similar to the one espoused by Gary Smalley). It assumes that each individual has a "need" to be loved in his/her primary love language. It assumes that this need is legitimate and that it is God's will for that need to be met by others. These assumptions are man's conclusions and are not detailed in Scripture.
On page 81, we are provided with an anecdote of a child who always asked for money to buy something when he was taken to the store with his parents. At first his parents thought this was an "abnormal materialistic streak," but then they began to see this behavior as the signal of the child's primary love language #3 -- Gift Giving. Consequently, they began a habitual pattern of buying gifts for the child as "a little something to say I love you." In this case, the parents unwisely interpreted a felt need (i.e., a want) as a legitimate need. We must remind ourselves that not every "need" felt within the human experience is a legitimate one, nor that we have a Biblical mandate to meet that so-called need. True Biblical love will often by-pass a person's felt needs to zero in on the (often unrealized) true spiritual need of the individual.
I. Chapter Five is entitled "The Father's Mandate." The Ezzos point out from 1 Tim. 5:8 that the father is to provide for the physical needs of the family:
"But that is not the last word of parenting in Scripture. There is one more element that is too often missing in our families: the duty of a father to establish a relationship with his children -- a relationship based on trust" (p. 87).
To help build that relationship of trust, the Ezzos offer the "eight non-negotiable mandates of fatherhood" (p. 89). Here are the eight mandates:
a). A father must cultivate a sense of family identity.
b). A father must demonstrate an ongoing love for his wife.
c). A father must understand and respect his child's private world.
d). A father must keep his promises.
e). A father must give his children the freedom to fail.
f). A father must be the encourager of the family.
g). A father must routinely embrace his children.
h). A father, if he's going to build a relationship of trust with his children, must build it on God's Word and not on human wisdom.
1. It seems rather curious that in a chapter devoted to the father's mandate, there is not a single reference made to the typical Scripture passages that deal specifically with the subject of fathering. While some of the eight mandates seem crucial, we wonder why hugging should be on the list, while there is no mention of Biblically obvious duties like teaching the Scriptures (Deut. 6:7); not provoking children to wrath (Col. 3:21); training them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4); etc.
2. We question, as well, the Ezzos overall, big-picture responsibility of the father, i.e., to establish a relationship based on trust with his children. We think it is a commendable and crucial responsibility, but Biblically, it falls short. An unsaved father could take this as his fathering mandate. As Christian fathers, shouldn't our priorities and duties be more Biblically specific and significantly different? Though developing a relationship of trust is important, it should be viewed as a part of the means by which we involve ourselves, as fathers, in the more important priorities -- communicating God's character to our children; teaching them the Scriptures; leading them to Christ and salvation; etc.
J. Observations on Chapter Twelve, "Guidelines For Chastisement":
On pages 207-208, the Ezzos offer four supporting arguments in favor of spanking:
(1) Its universal use -- even outside Judeo/Christian cultures;
(2) Its practice in the animal world;
(3) Its positive results -- "Of course spanking works";
(4) Its Biblical basis -- According to the Ezzos, the Bible condones spanking: "The Bible encourages spanking but does not command it."
1. For Christians who are seriously looking for direction in the awesome, one-chance-only responsibility of raising godly children, we need the confidence that comes from the instructions of the Word of God. The first three arguments above may be accurate observations, but as Christians, we need to be very careful about ordering our behavior based on these kinds of extra-Biblical arguments.
2. In the process of emphasizing that spanking works, the Ezzos make the statement: "That is why the vast majority of American parents use it to correct a child's rebellious behavior" (p. 208). No documentation is offered to support this assertion. We question its validity. If spanking works, and if the vast majority of parents in America are using it, why do we see such extensive evidences in our society of juvenile rebellion, disobedience, disrespect, etc.? And, even if spanking was used by the majority of Americans, is it a Biblical form of spanking performed in a Biblical manner in conjunction with other Biblical parental responsibilities?
3. After making this claim that spanking is used by the vast majority of Americans, and that it works, the Ezzos go on to try to distinguish between society's "cultural spanking" and "biblical chastisement." -- "Chastisement means to inflict pain with controlled force on an individual to amend an inner attitude" (p. 209). On pages 209-210, the Ezzos list nine major contrasts between cultural spanking and Biblical chastisement. One contrast is: "Cultural spanking is performed throughout a child's life. Biblical chastisement is nearly completed by the age of five" (p. 209).
On pages 218-219, it is estimated that 75-80% of all spankings will take place between 14 and 40 months of age. We wonder if this spanking time-frame is something the Ezzos have seen in the Scriptures, or if it is just their conclusion based on observation. They claim that their concept of spanking comes from the book of Proverbs:
"The Bible encourages spanking but does not command it. ... We support its use because it is part of the wisdom literature of Proverbs and is used in conjunction with righteous training" (pp. 208-209).
On page 216, the Ezzos list five passages in Proverbs where the subject of "the rod" appears (Prov. 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15; 26:3; 10:13). This is their Biblical basis for what they call "Biblical chastisement," which predominantly occurs between 14 and 40 months. Though our infants and toddlers need to be controlled and corrected, we question whether these "rod" verses in Proverbs are to be applied so specifically to the tender ages of 14-40 months. A careful study of these "rod verses" would seem to indicate that the use of the rod was a very severe form of correction primarily reserved for grown male youths who evidenced an advanced state of rebellion by their involvement in adult crimes and infractions.
4. It is generally agreed that one should not pick a Bible version for the translation of a verse that one finds more suitable to one's own philosophy. One should choose that which is the closest to the original. Not so for Gary Ezzo. On page 213, Ezzo uses the King James Version translation of Proverbs 19:18 -- "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying." The KJV translation has long been recognized as an inexplicably incorrect translation of the Hebrew text of the second half of this verse. The Hebrew text properly translated reads like the New King James Version, which offers this more accurate revision: "Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction."
5. One mother shares her experience from a class she attended: "At the second session, during class discussion, one mother shared her frustration because she was spanking her child to make him take naps. Sometimes the spankings went on for three hours, because she felt her authority was at stake. Where was the help for this poor parent, who needed most of all to be told that her four year old child shouldn't be forced to take a nap just because it made her life more convenient? Because the Ezzos miss the mark, and because parents' hearts are not changed to become more Christlike, I am afraid many children will continue to suffer needlessly."
K. The "Morality" Factor
Throughout the manual, the various forms of the words "moral" and "ethical" pop up on almost every page. In the "Introduction" we read that "we serve an ethical God" (p. 9). In the first paragraph of an unnumbered chapter titled, "The Foundations of Growing Kids God's Way," is this sentence: "Our major emphasis is on the moral training of parents and children" (p. 15). To their credit, the Ezzos occasionally link the issue of morality up with Scripture and its demands:
"Moral training in the Christian home should equate to training in biblical virtues and values" (p. 16).
"Biblical ethics is concerned with the manner of life that the Christian faith demands" (p. 36).
1. These statements notwithstanding, we are concerned about the extensive use of these words throughout the manual. The words "morality" and "ethics," though positive terms, are somewhat generic and can be ambiguous due to heavy secular usage. The Ezzos perform a disservice to Christian families when they use these generic words to the virtual exclusion of wording more specific to New Testament Christianity: words like "spiritual," "Christ-like," "godly," "holy," etc. These are the words that describe the kind of behavior that many Christian parents long for in their children. At one point the Ezzos write: "When we speak of Christian character, we are referring to moral and social excellence" (p. 121). There are many devout Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, etc. who would accept that sentence. The ambiguity of the statement does not allow for the unique features and responsibilities of New Testament Christianity to come into focus.
2. On pages 187-189, we are told that when looking at the acts of our children, we need to distinguish between those acts that are moral and those that are morally neutral. We wonder if there is such a thing as "morally neutral." Rather than considering the morality of a child's behavior, what if we were to focus on whether that behavior was holy and pleasing to the Lord? A child's action is either pleasing to the Lord or it isn't. It is holy, or it isn't. There is no neutral, middle ground.
3. The Ezzos point out that moral training (based on the Law of God) is necessary in the lives of young children, even before regeneration (p. 17), and even before they can comprehend "morality" (p. 26). We accept this. But we would add that the Law is designed to reveal man's sin (Rom. 7:7); and, as a tutor, to lead people to Christ, Who is the end of the law (Gal. 3:24; Rom. 10:4). Unfortunately, however, we believe that the Ezzos do not help Christian parents transition from the early teaching of the moral Law to the eventual teaching of justification and sanctification in the Lord Jesus Christ. Moral Law principles must be taught to our young children. But there will come a time in the child's life when he will begin to experience the struggle of Romans 7 -- that it is impossible to do what is pleasing to the Lord apart from salvation and sanctification.
4. In the text it is stated: "The duty of parents is to continually bring their children to God's standard and not lower the standard to suit the child." Many parents have expressed concern, however, over haziness as to when it is GOD's standard set forth, and when it is the Ezzos' standards, or a cultural standard, i.e. required use of Mr. and Mrs. to express respect (GKGW Appendix); mealtime etiquette; dealing with a shy child; returning shopping carts to their proper places. These are all good things in and of themselves, yet are often presented dogmatically and in the name of God and Scripture. If we fail to do them, are we really letting God down? Should extenuating circumstances influence our decisions, or is it really as cut and dried as the Ezzos say it is? (Source: Lisa Marasco, "GROWING KIDS: Is it God's Way?").
Parents must participate as guides, leading their children through this transition from self to Christ. The Ezzos do not seem to develop the need for this necessary transition, but instead keep up a steady development of the themes of morality, self-control, self-discipline, etc. This is, in our estimation, the most potentially damaging aspect of the Ezzos' "parenting stratagem." At one point the Ezzos write:
"The obedience factor is very important in your child's development. Just as Christ is the cornerstone of Christianity, so obedience must be the foundation of Christian behavior" (p. 180).
If Christ is the cornerstone of Christianity, isn't He the foundation of our Christian behavior as well? These teachings are slightly askew and may unfortunately lead children down a path that promotes self-reliance and undermines faith in the sufficiency of Christ.
As mentioned in our other reports, we are aware that the Ezzos are beginning to offer
secular editions of some of their material. Their emphasis on morality and ethics at the
expense New Testament Christianity makes this possible.