The Protestant churches like to sell the idea that the so called Reformation, out of which these denominations arose, was a truly dramatic historical event which swept away years of Catholic sponsored error. While some of the more egregious practices of Catholicism, like the use of indulgences, were left behind by the Protestants, most of the creedal tenets which had guided Catholic theology for 1500 years were carried over into Protestantism without the slightest re-evaluation or “protest”.
Doctrines which were developed and cast in “creedal concrete” back in the latter days of the
At the time of this Reformation, the Bible was essential unavailable to all but the very few. There is therefore little wonder that the theological pronouncements of the Catholic Church went largely unchallenged. After all, for over a 1000 years that doctrine was the only one that could be considered, since the vast majority had no Bibles and couldn’t reads them if they did. Additionally, the institutional church, in the form of the Catholics Church, wielded such great power over the populace during the years of its undisputed tenure that only the most courageous would even dare to question its tenets. Open debate and discussion of theology was discouraged on penalty of death.
Therefore, to assume that the Protestant Reformation, or any other doctrinal correction by any institutional church, has largely swept away the theological errors of past generations is totally unwarranted. As long as “reformation” left mankind with a religious organization overseen by professionals for the purpose of maintaining its identity and existence and of propagating its power and influence over the population, then that improvement was always cosmetic at best. True reformation can only occur when the institutional church is eliminated instead of merely re-constituted.