Ever since I broke away from a “Truly Reformed” type of Protestantism, I’ve been wrestling with whether and why I should continue to be Protestant.
From reading NT Wright, I’ve come to accept a less-than-Lutheran position on justification; I’ve also come to accept a higher view of the sacraments (though this itself is not something in conflict with the magisterial Reformers); I think liturgical worship is better than non-liturgical worship; I’m okay with Eastern doctrines of theosis and non-penal views of the atonement (as long as they don’t exclude penal views); I even think there might be a place, though not an obligation, for a universal bishop (i.e., a Pope). So why am I still a Protestant?
It’s actually very simple for me. Firstly, it’s basically indisputable that both Popes and ecumenical councils, and even the majority of those in the church, have been in error. Everyone accepts this, some just think it sufficient to say the church/Popes eventually got orthodox again (though this doesn’t help avoid the problem). Further, “tradition” in the sense of what people in the church of the past believed or taught, is clearly also fallible. Secondly, Jesus and the Bible never promised that bishops, Popes, ecumenical councils, or the majority of believers, would be infallible. At most, we are promised the church will ultimately never be destroyed, and will be guided by the Spirit; nothing more detailed than that. Thirdly, the prophets (the OT), Jesus, and the Apostles (the NT) are promised infallibility by Jesus (assuming the arguments for inerrancy work).
Ultimately, this makes me Protestant. It’s not that I somehow think written revelation is better than orally received revelation, or that the church (or elders/bishops) is unnecessary to the mission of God in the world, or that materiality is bad, or that God only acts immediately in salvation. It’s just that, as far as I can see, I have no reason to believe that anyone except the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles are infallible.