• What JGIG Is:

    Joyfully Growing In Grace engages in an examination of beliefs found in the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related sects.

    The term “Messianic” is generally understood to describe Jews who have come to believe in Yeshua/Jesus as their Messiah. Jews who are believers in Jesus/Yeshua typically call themselves Jewish/Hebrew Christians or simply, Christians.

    Many Christians meet folks who say they are ‘Messianic’ and assume that those folks are Jewish Christians. Most aren’t Jewish at all, but are Gentile Christians who have chosen to pursue Torah observance and have adopted the Messianic term, calling themselves Messianic Christians, adherents to Messianic Judaism, or simply, Messianics. Some will even try to avoid that label and say that they are followers of "The Way".

    These Gentiles (and to be fair, some Messianic Jews) preach Torah observance/pursuance for Christians, persuading many believers that the Christianity of the Bible is a false religion and that we must return to the faith of the first century sect of Judaism that they say Yeshua (Jesus Christ) embraced. According to them, once you become aware that you should be 'keeping' the edicts and regulations of Mosaic Covenant Law, if you do not, you are then in willful disobedience to God.

    It has been my observation that Christians who adopt the label of Messianic identify more with the tenets of Judaism than they do with the tenets of Christianity. Many reject the label of Christian altogether and some eventually even convert to Judaism.

    1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 says, "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil."

    Joyfully Growing in Grace examines the methods, claims, and fruits of the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related, law-keeping sects.

    To borrow from a Forrest Gump quote, “Law ‘keepers’ are like a box of chocolates - ya never know what you’re gonna get!” The goal of JGIG is to be a resource to help those affected by the Torah pursuant movements to try and sort out what they’re dealing with. Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.

    Be sure to click on the many embedded links within the posts here - there's lots of additional and related information for you to access that way, as well.

    Welcome, and may God grant you wisdom and discernment as you consider all of these things.

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    Do you find it frustrating when you're directed to a link that does not exist? Me too! My apologies for any broken links you may find here.

    JGIG occasionally links to to sites that sometimes move or remove content, forums that periodically cull threads, sites/posters that appear to 'scrub' content from their sites (or YouTube posts, pdf files, etc.) when that content receives negative attention, and others that over time simply cease to exist.

    Please let me know via the 'Contact JGIG' drop-down menu item under the 'About' tab at the top of this page if you come across a link that is broken so that I can try to repair or remove it. Please include the name of the post/article where you found the broken link as well as the link itself. You may be able to find content specified by doing a search and viewing a relocated or cached page/post/video.

    Thanks,
    - JGIG

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Who Knew?

A statement of faith.  That’s what I thought my first post would be.  As one who goes straight to a statement of faith whenever I go to a new place regarding matters of faith on the world-wide-web, my thought was that a statement of faith would be an appropriate place to start with this blog.

Having invested some lengthy study time into the issues that prompted me to start this blog in the first place, I feel moved to make my inaugural post one of a bit of reflection . . .

Here was little ole me . . . a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom-of-six, saved by Grace through Faith, having accepted the gift of the Blood of Jesus and His glorious and completed work at the Cross.  Everything was just fine.  Life is not perfect, but good, overall, with its normal ups and downs.

So who knew?  Who knew that there were believers out there who actually kept the Mosaic Law, the Torah?  Not only that, but who knew there were religious teachers out there who are actually teaching that Torah observance is mandatory for all Christians, (for as long as you might have that label after actually becoming Torah observant) right down to keeping nidah (look it up) and the dietary laws, along with all the appointed Feasts, Sabbaths, and Holy Days. 

Who knew that there was a curriculum out there for homeschoolers that promotes the learning of the Biblical holidays and that families who go through the textbook feel commanded to keep Torah by the time they’re done?

Who knew that there were people out there who instigated an actual church split because they could not convince leadership that God mandates a hyper-patriarchal view of the world (women in the home – all women, even adult female children until marriage, mandatory homeschooling, mandatory courtship, only men vote, among other things)?

Who knew that there are people who have been actually told to leave not one, but three, churches because of inappropriate behavior when their ministry’s scriptural basis was questioned by leadership at those churches and they were asked to make themselves accountable? (This is a formula based child-rearing organization, with an emphasis on very early training, starting in infancy.) 

Who knew that there was an institute out there that has placed millions of adherents under an umbrella of legalism, deceptively labeling itself as principle-based, when in fact it is rooted in Old Testament Law and promotes a skewed definition of grace?  To be fair, the organization of which I speak has been beneficial to some, but has left many wounded and even shattered lives in its wake. 

Never mind that God does not specifically command  these practices or methods in scripture (though some would argue that He does command Torah observance for Christians today).  The above ministries and formulas all claim to be grounded in the Bible alone.  The parts of them that make them unique, however, are built on a system of extra-Biblical rules and methods, claiming that their way is how God mandates (commands) things should be done.  Who knew?

Beware of legalism, dear reader.  Where Grace is like a lubricant, keeping the machine of real life running for the race to which we are called, Legalism is sticky stuff, and applied long enough will seize the machine, sometimes irreparably.  (We’re talking a metaphor for this paragraph folks, not a definition, so relax, I’m not saying that the definition of Grace is that it’s a lubricant.)

Two things I have come away with as I have become aware of these viewpoints and practices: 1) I kneel before God with thanksgiving that He has spared me from such things.  I have been blissfully ignorant of these specific things (though not of legalism in general) until very recently.  2) I am grieved that so many, having the truth of the freedom purchased by the Blood of the Lamb, would put themselves under any kind of bondage – whether it be under someone’s “formula” for living, or putting themselves under the Law from which Christ freed us through His completed work at the Cross and with His Resurrection.

Why has God brought these things to my attention?  I’m not really sure, yet.  But I know He is preparing me with knowledge to be used for His purposes and in His time.  I’m also grateful to Him for grounding me more deeply and firmly in His Gospel in the past few months.  He is Faithful!  What a joy it has been to refresh my spirit in Him and His Grace and His Word!

Paying attention,

Wendy

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4 Responses

  1. Awesome inaugeral post!! Clear and precise. Way to go! I can’t wait to read more (and maybe I’ll get brave enough to start a blog of my own…)

  2. Hello Wendy,
    Thank you for posting this blog. It was pleasant to read through your posts. One thing I was thinking of when reading this one was your reference to the gift of God being the blood. This was certainly a gift, but there is another one that I personally try to emphasize even more. The gift of the blood was given, so that the gift of the life of our God could be presented to humanity. With reference to a previous post on your blog, you quoted the passage that said if there was a law that was given that would have given life, Christ died for nothing. This life is the life that had been lost in Adam and Eve, when they ate from the wrong tree. The life of God that had been breathed into them, the very Holy Spirit had been lost then, and is now being offered freely to the world. Those who accept this free gift will never loose it, because the gift of the blood has resolved all sin. There is no sin that will cause this life to leave. We, therefore who have received this life have been resurrected from the dead and will never die, because there is no sin left unforgiven that will kill us again. The Old Covenant did not address this issue of salvation. It was given for other purposes. It is the New Covenant that addresses the core issue between us and our God, and opens the door for us to walk through and enter into the new and living way, a life of dependency on what He has already done for us. I do pray this comment will be a helpful addition to your blog. Thank you for your post, Aaron Budjen

  3. Kimberly – Thanks! Let me know when you get that blog up and running =o)!
    ~Wendy

  4. Aaron – Thank you so much for your comment and for your kind words regarding my new blog. I want to let you know what a blessing your website, http://www.livinggodministries.net , has been to me. Yes! Life is the true gift, and I will endeavor to make that the biggest focus in future posts regarding the Law. I remember as I read through your website what a good focus that was, and that LIFE and reconciliation with God is what Jesus came to give us!

    The reason I think the blood became a focus for me is that I’ve become aware of Christians (most of whom are not Jewish) who have left the Cross and forgotten about the blood and what Christ accomplished and have chosen to live under the Law of Moses.

    Reading through the Q and A section of your website, (which is awesome, by the way) you beautifully talk about how God gently led you to Himself and how He revealed His redemption of life for you.

    One of the reasons I have linked to your site in my Mouse Tracks is that your perspective is so insightful and you communicate what God, by His Holy Spirit, has revealed to you, so well.

    Please pray for the direction of this blog, if you feel led. God has stirred me up about Christians putting themselves under any kind of legalism. There are lots of families in the homeschooling community that are being deceived into following extra-Biblical “commands” and belief systems fashioned by men, and as I’ve become awakened to that fact, I’ve felt like this is one way I can have some impact for freedom and to help believers to “Stand fast, therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1

    I’m praying that God shows me His vision for the depth and breadth and scope for this blog. Part of that will be determined by who God brings to JGIG and the discussions in which they engage. I hope you will join in the discussion!

    ~Wendy

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