I hear the feelings behind some of the reviews, where some were ruffled by some of Telchin's words.
Let me address that first: YES he is plain spoken, and at 80-something, he has a right to be. Experience speaks louder than fancy degrees. I propose to respect the source, examine the evidence, and prayerfully seek the Spirit's guidance as I prove anything that strikes me as questionable.
This author is a good communicator by definition: clear points, clear position on issues, based on clear examples, with logic easy to follow - prompting a response from the audience! (It needn't be a positive response.)
The book is easily read, in layout and logical sequence. No flowery, tedious academic lingo. No overbearing religious verbage. Yay!
Of course, anyone deeply in love with their faith, race, or traditions will get upset when they feel threatened in those areas. Hopefully that will motivate them to challenge THEMSELVES about why they believe what they "always believed". Tradition does not translate into "truth".
So, he is right that:
1) Messianic Jews are ethno-centric to a fault
2) Such congregations attract many "Gentiles"
3) Leadership tends to be kept among "Jewish" members
4) they express joyful praise, dance, and worship with an ethnic flavor
5) There is a tendency to keep all speakers on Jewish themes; all performers Messianic
6) Confusion exists over "the Law" and the New Covenant: how much tradition should be practiced?
7) Messianics do NOT want to be called "Christians"
8) Ethnic identity seems to be the primary defining point among the members, with Jesus second, and the wider Church absent
9) They can express an Us and Them attitude against the Church
10) They appeal to Christians because they embrace Jesus and the faith's Jewish roots
Adding to Telchin's points, I have observed in my own congregation:
a) Some members stress out over things that "might offend" visiting unsaved Jews - nevermind that this can offend Gentiles "not under law"
b) Many are "pro-Jewishly prejudiced" focusing all missions on Jewish causes, and the Israeli state
c) They believe the Jews are ALL of Israel (nevermind the 10 lost tribes) so every non-Jewish person must therefore be a Gentile
d) Christianity is seen as corrupted "too much" to become part of
e) Selective blindness about the faults of Judaism that also corrupt it
f) Religious and racial fears are still significant: fear of losing their "jewishness"
g) Passion "to reach Jews with the gospel" - and ONLY Jews!
h) Refusal to stop separating Jew and Gentile in word and thought
i) Pride in ethnic heritage that sets apart from other fellowships
j) Insistence on consulting the oral laws and rabbinical teachings, regardless of their Biblical incorrectness
But note - it is young, as movements go. Change is going to keep happening, as God guides them towards maturity. He is also guiding the Church towards unity - and obedience to His word. Both Jew and Christian have false doctrines to shed. And traditions God has not commanded. And prejudices to overcome.
Let's not throw rocks at other believers...
Remember the woman taken in adultery.
Intercede for them with prayer and fasting combined together.
THAT pleases God.
Not "textbook perfectness".
It is good for ethnic groups to celebrate their heritage, in Church, and at home. The problem is when it becomes the central reason for getting together, and makes division within the Church. Exclusiveness causes division. Pride, fear, and misunderstanding do too. The book notes these problems, which are present in varying degrees throughout the movement.
Yes, we know ALL congregations are not on the same page. It's just like grade school: some As some Fs.
Ethnic Jews will always be "jewish", just as I will always be ethnic Yugoslavian. Being "saved" does not change my heritage. It DOES change my spiritual life completely, though. And as the author explains, a central error of Messianics, as of other Jews, is the feeling that "Christian = Gentile". I often point out that my brethren are "Children of God of Jewish descent", not Jews in faith any more.
It is vitally true that Orthodox Jews don't accept Jesus, or his adherents - we are "Pagans" and such apostate Jews are "dead"!
So, as Telchin wrote, "the Jews" will never accept such people and hear their witness - they are worse than Gentiles. Their continued existence is an offense to God. So they hate Messianics, and all the attempts at keeping jewish appearances only upset them more.
See the virulently anti-christian, and anti-messianic-jew book "Make Us a God - a Jewish Response to Hebrew Christianity" by Chaim Picker - a former Jew, then minister, then Orthodox cantor.
Also written in an intellectual, clear perspective, it illuminates the scope of the religious schism. Chaim accuses missionaries of committing a "religious Holocaust" on the Jewish people, like the church tried to do in the past by burning them.
(He is apparently ignorant of the difference between Catholic Church politics, which gave us the Inquisition, and real Christianity. His arguments are oddly like those of Wiccans, who attack Christians for the same reasons!)
"Jews cannot be Christians, or they cease to be Jews" - is the mantra. Well, spiritually speaking, it is true. Ethnically, it's laughable.
Go compare these two books, and you will have a volatile dunk into the controversy and challenges of the Messianic Movement. Look up Hebrew Christians, too. That was their former name.
Remember debate is good - it forces you to examine your own logic. Understanding is always valuable, and agreement with either "side" is not required.