Could it not be correctly concluded that institutionalism has rendered relationship with God to where it is best described as more commemorative - serving to honor, and keep alive the memory of life in Christ rather than participation in the life of Christ? In part, if not in whole, the “church” is impelled by a devotion to hollowed places, rule and regulation keeping, and religious rituals! Hence the irrelevancy of the contemporary church to people’s reality, because it does not and cannot relate to the practical life people live.
What the Father had clearly manifested through His Son, and further purposes to manifest through the body of Christ is shrouded in mystery and reduced to cryptic rituals and ceremony and is by it’s very nature intended to be aloof and mysterious.
Religion cannot withstand the test of scriptural examination and therefore is maintained by spiritual ignorance. Hence the mystique of mystery...the notion that spiritual truths and the rituals are beyond the comprehension of the laity and is reserved for the clergy, which establishes them as interpreter. The laity are thus conditioned not to inquire so much as accept the interpretations of these mysteries mindlessly, as interpreted by the interpreter! The deception of such philosophy is that the ritual itself imparts life to the participant reducing much of what is called “Christian” to the level of incantations or ritual recitations of magical words and idol worship of the “spiritual elite.” Jesus is not just the Way, He is also LIFE. Life is found only in the Son, and the Son is not found in ritual. He is found in relationship, He is the mystery revealed!
Religion established by rules and regulations is fixed and is expressed in a mindset that expresses arrogance; "we have arrived, we are God's most favored and enlightened elite."
Jesus confronted this arrogance in a certain company of Jews, which believed on him. Jesus said to them, "If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free", John 8:32-36. This offended their religious pride. So they tried to put Jesus in His place by reminding Him of who they were. Had He forgotten that they were the chosen nation? Had He forgotten that they were a peculiar people set apart from all the rest? "We are Abraham's seed" they exclaimed, "and were never in bondage to any man, how then can you say, You shall be made free?" (v.32) It was this very pride that hindered many of the Jews from following on to know the freedom of which Jesus spoke when He said, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed." (v.36) Rather than follow on they stopped to defend their orthodoxy. They were offended that someone would even suggest that they had not arrived. Even if that someone was the Christ.
All who adopt the "We have arrived" mentality governed by constitutions set in stone, will sooner or later, find themselves arguing with God and are blind to the doings of God.