Jesus came on the world scene preaching the message of an imminent Kingdom (Matt 3:2, Luke 21:31). Later Jesus clarified the nature of the kingdom on several occasions. In John 18:36 Jesus stated emphatically that the kingdom was not of this world and not like other kingdoms which must be established and maintained by fighting. His kingdom message was apparently not a call to arms. In Luke 17:20-21 Jesus described the kingdom as invisible to the physical eye but rather existing internally, out of normal human sight. In Matthew 24:14, 34 Jesus speaks of the gospel of the kingdom as going into all the world in His generation. This same fact is reiterated by Paul in Col 1:6, 23. This was obviously not the gospel of the present day church. In the four Gospels accounts, Jesus speaks of the kingdom over 100 times. By way of contrast, Jesus speaks only twice of the church, both in the book of Matthew (Chapters 16 and 18).
Strangely, in view of what we observe above, current day Christianity is all about the very visible church, with its elaborate properties and rigid hierarchies. In the teaching of many churches, the members are supposed to fight to bring about the kingdom, which is ever just over the horizon in the near future. In the minds and doctrines of others, the church is the kingdom, despite the fact that the words of Jesus so clearly challenge that contention.
An internal, invisible, kingdom, which does not call men to fight, hardly bears any resemblance to what we have known as the church down through the ages. How did we end up with the church instead of the kingdom which Jesus prayed for (Matthew 6:10). How is it that we have a highly visible, highly structured, stridently confrontational institution, instead of enjoying the internal spiritual blessings of the promised kingdom?
In Mark 10:42-44 Jesus renounced the idea that some men would rule over others under His mantle. Yet, in ever facet of the institutional church, men accept positions of authority and dictate to others. Can this be what Jesus envisioned? Is the spiritual well fare and eternal destiny of men rightfully and logically dependent on such human leadership with all the attendant dangers such an arrangement inevitably brings?
Somehow, what Jesus taught and what we have experienced don't match. Somebody needs to explain how what Jesus promised did not come to past and we got a substitute religious organization in its place.