Rules of Life should never be allowed to replace the simple Gospel because they are meant to be an expression and application of Christ’s call to discipleship. One of the early names for Christianity was simply ‘The Way’, because this is not a doctrinal position so much as a way of life.
Saint Francis of Assisi was one of the greatest saints ever given to the church whose Rule was originally just a set of bible verses. “I prefer you not talk to me about any other Rule,” he said, “nor recommend any other ideal or manner of life than that which the Lord in his mercy has revealed and given to me. He told me I am to be a new kind of fool in this world.” (St Francis of Assisi, Mirror of Perfection, 68)
Francis’ ‘Rule of the fool’ in all its simplicity turned the world upside down. Having been commissioned by God to ‘go repair my church which is falling into ruins’ Francis simply obeyed for the rest of his life and, in the process, ‘returned to the gospel with such force that it shook the entire world’.
 Wallis, Jim in Wallis, Jim & Hollyday ed. Cloud of Witnesses, Orbis Books, New York, p.6