Today I flipped through the book again and was surprised by how one-sided it was. Stern's ecclesiology was so short-sighted. Don't get me wrong, I have immense respect and gratitude for his pioneering work. But no work is perfect. And the blind-spot in this book was Gentile identity, seeing it as limited to Christianity and the Church.
The reality for Messianics is that, although we love Christians, we have a completely different ideology: we are pro-Judaic; they are anti-Judaic.
That's why most of us get kicked out of Christian congregations/fellowships.
At our last fellowship, I spoke out against an "elder" (he was just in his early twenties) who had said something that I perceived to be offensive regarding an actual elder (who was seventy). I knew in the Spirit that there was something wrong with this guy (it turned out later he was arrested for taking video up women's skirts). Here's an excerpt of the email I received after speaking out:
"You are an exact replica of the Pharisees in Jesus day!....Here is my question for you. Why is it, in this situation and all the others that everyone sees things different than you? What damage has it caused? Everyone is fine except you. You are the only one offended....your spiritual judgment is severely impaired....I do not think that you are genuinely saved. I think you are a Pharisee and an enemy against those who are genuine sheep....I have dealt with demonically influenced people like you before. I see through the schemes of the enemy.Why do I share that with you? To embarrass the one who sent it to me? No. Because I know that other Messianics out there have been through the same thing or are about to go through the same thing. Be prepared. You will be called demonic for practicing Torah, teaching Judaism. You might be called worse things that what I was called.
YOU ARE NOT WELCOME AT OUR FELLOWSHIP ANY LONGER. (NOT THAT YOU ACTUALLY FELT A PART OF IT ANYWAY)"