If one desires a relationship with God, the church says it has to be on God's terms. What they really means is that it has to be on their terms, since they are the interpreters of what constitutes God's terms. In fact, first, the church defines God and then they define his requirements, which conveniently means a commitment to the support of the church and its ministers.
None of the people who so readily affiliate with the institutional church seem to recoil from the obvious fact that the church assumes to itself such a powerful role over their personal relationships, dictating what is and is not acceptable. It is the ultimate relinquishment of personal liberty from the very ones who so vociferously scream about governmental abridgement of freedom. Why worry about government and then slavishly adhere to freedom robbing church doctrine.
The counter argument that the church merely proclaims God's rules about relationships and does not make the rules is entirely fallacious. Since the church's doctrine prohibits any personal interpretation of the rule book (Bible), they most certainly serve as the rulers. They alone decide what rules apply and what the consequences will be if the rules are broken. Any pretense of being merely a rule communicator, in accordance with God's direction, is invalidated by every effort to enforce an orthodox theology. Mere educators don't intimidate like the church does.
Where divine rules are concerned, the church has assumed the role of all three branches of government. Let's not forget that the rule book itself only reached humanity at large after it had been vetted by the church. That vetting was the canonization process whereby the various portions of the Bible were collected and declared inspired by the early church. This canonization was equivalent to the work of legislation, since it involved deciding what the rule book contained. Through various means of intimidation, i.e. excommunication in its milder forms, the institutional church has always exercised an enforcement role; and, in its insistence on being the only approved Bible expositors, they enjoy the judicial role as well.
If one were to devise the ultimate instrument of oppression, the institutional church would be it. Not only does it exercise unlimited power, but it does so with the joyous acquiescence of the very ones it enslaves.