The following is an edited transcript of a Christianity Today telephone interview with Gary Ezzo, president of Growing Families International. CT's deputy managing editor Timothy Morgan conducted the interview in August, 2000.
CT: What is your explanation for why Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship ex-communicated you?
Gary Ezzo: Well, first there has to be some context put to this, and some explanation obviously. The exercise that Living Hope went through six weeks after our departure and our withdrawal of membership was not church discipline or biblical ex-communication by any New Testament standard.
You simply cannot ex-communicate people who do not belong to the church and I know that you are aware of that, unless a process began before the departure. We were very much aware of that. But in our particular case, there was not only no process, there were no allegations of wrongdoing or misconduct ever brought to us until after we pursued the elders on issues of concern.
We went to them. We shared our concerns. We felt that, if we could not support our spiritual leadership in good conscience, then the best thing for us to do was to leave and to leave quietly. That's what we did. So, after our departure and only after our departure, did they bring these charges. Now the charges, most people are not aware of what the charges are. For some reason, the elders of Living Hope ... do not want to release [them]. I'll tell you what the charges are. The charges were five specific charges, all of them dealt specifically with this one thing. That some time in the past that I falsely accused the pastor and his wife and a third party of gossip.
Now we don't know when this happened. The elders refused to substantiate this. There is no dialogue, ...