To David Young:
A very good question, and one that has exercised many serious hearts and minds - though I am not sure it sits well under the title "Questions no Protestant can answer". But different people come to different answers, of which three spring immediately to mind:
1) I think it is right to leave if one is expelled. A number of denominations, churches and associations of churches have come into being when they held loyally and fervently to the tenets of their previous church, but where that previous church has "lost its first love", become respectable and "luke warm", and expelled them. Their new church, association or denomination is not really new, for it is the parent body which retains the name but has eschewed the teachings or spirit on which it was founded.
a. where that previous church has "lost its first love"
The Church which Christ founded on Himself cannot
and will not
lose its First Love. As I said before: "and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it." And Christ spoke of not every "Christian" community in the world purporting to be Christian
. I mean seriously if this was true why would the Gnostics be anathematized by St. Paul?
b. for it is the parent body which retains the name but has eschewed the teachings or spirit on which it was founded.
No! The Parent Body cannot
eschew the teachings on which it was founded. Let us presume this to be true: then when then did the "Parent Body" start eschewing the teachings of our Lord? And this Parent Body has been enslaving Christians for more than a thousand years? Is God so merciful as to allow this?
As for me and all other Orthodox Christians we believe that the Apostolicity of the Church as very important as Jesus promised the Apostolic Church to be fail-proof till the end of the age. And this Apostolic Church still exists until this very day.
2) It is harder to know what is right when one is not expelled, and must take a personal decision guided by one's own conscience. This can be very hard and painful. Some opt for just what you advocate, stay in, and often describe themselves as "in it to win it".
3) Some feel, often with deep sadness, that the time has come to leave the parent body. This is often when prominent leaders in the denomination are tolerated, who deny fundamental truths of the parent church, such as the deity of Christ, the Trinity, and other cardinal dogmas.
It is never up to a single person to preserve the faith. It is for the whole Church to decide in a Council.
"It seemed right to the Holy Spirit and to us
..." (Acts 15:28)
I left Methodism in 1966, largely because I had come to believe that the denomination which retained the name "Methodist" was no longer preaching and practising that religion. One may say I was wrong, or say I was right, but whichever decision people take in such circumstances, they will stand or fall by their own Master, and we are not authorised to judge them - unless of course they are blatantly, conspicuously and probably gleefully divisive in their spirit and manner.
Perhaps Methodism could do that: but certainly not the Church which Our Lord and Savior himself founded: the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The ordination of women, of course, is one new practice which has moved some men to make this painful decision, and they have moved in various directions - to Rome, to Orthodoxy, or to Evangelical churches.
Ordination of deaconesses were done in ancient times. And they are planning to revive it today. No: a woman cannot be a priest! Imagine calling someone Fr. Mary!
a woman cannot be a father.