For many years his Church was on course for completing the task. Servants like Peter, Paul, and their companions pointed us in the way. The blueprint is clearly found in the pages of the New Testament.
However as the Kingdom grew, so did the desire to control and monitor all that was happening. Around the year 300 A.D. the spontaneous expansion fo the church led by the Holy Spirit was formalized into an institution largely governed by a professional clergy class. For 1700 years Institutional Christianity has shifted from being a priesthood of all believers to becoming one of the world's major religions.
God has certainly not ceased to work through His Church, but in a real sense, his divine methods and purposes have been substituted for man-made religion, programs, dogmas and a divided Body.
Instead of the simple obedience to the commands of Jesus--love the Lord your God, love one another, seek first His kingdom, abide in me, go make disciples, do this in remembrance of me, etc.-- the church has set up different standards for governing what it is Christ said to do. We have turned Christianity into a religion. Complete with hierarchy in our churches, organizations and institutions. We have added rules, regulations, expectations, and interpretations which govern the simple commands of Christ and the apostles. Isn't this the same kind of stuff Jesus condemned the Pharisees?
However, all over the world today, there is an emerging breed of believers ready and willing to exchange Institutional Christianity for a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation--a people for God's own possession (I Peter 2:9). A return to the reality that all God's children are empowered to be active participants in the Great Commission and the coming of God's Kingdom upon this earth. The only thing that differentiates us are the gifts each has been entrusted with by the Holy Spirit.
Today we get bogged down in a never-ending debate about who, what, when, and where, and how things can and should be done. Instead of just doing what Christ said to do, we now have formal written documents, clauses, guidelines, interpretations, and definitions for everything. Clutter.
Thom Rainer writes in Simple Church: Returning to God's Process For Making Disciples
"[Jesus] stepped into a complicated and polluted religious scene. It was cluttered with Sadducees, Pharisees, Herodians, Zealots, and Essenes. He did not play by their rules. He could not stand their hypocrisy. He preferred spending time with tax collectors and sinners."Is anything different today? How does Christ react to all we have made of his Church? His Bride!
Why can't we just get back to being the simple first-century, Spirit empowered disciples meeting in homes, by river sides, under Mango trees, spurring one another on to do those things Jesus commanded us to do?