I am assuming that the question, “Why do Protestants reject Orthodoxy?” is being asked sincerely, with a genuine desire to understand our mindset, and not as some sort of rhetorical phrasing.
In an earlier posting, I dealt with the probable doctrinal explanation, writing about justification by faith and assurance of salvation. I need add no more here.
I think there are two further fields of explanation which might help sincere inquirers.
1) You need to understand that we Protestants grow up with an awareness and acceptance of genuine Christian brothers and sisters in a variety of genuinely Christian denominations. Some Protestants, of course, do reject Orthodoxy entirely as not being a true Christian church, probably mainly for the doctrinal reasons mentioned in my earlier posting. Others accept the Orthodox as a true Christian church, but only as one denomination among many. We do not have a problem with that; we have no concept of a “one true true”. With such Protestants, what is rejected is not the Orthodox Church, but its claim to be the only church. Your doctrines of the Trinity and the Person of Christ make you entirely acceptable to such Protestants as one true Christian denomination among many. This is partly why I keep repeating in my postings that the word ‘reject’ is too harsh, or too total, to define the attitude of such Protestants towards your church.
2) Secondly, there are, from my experience, four kinds of Orthodox, and they are all duplicated among Protestants:
- There are warm, Christ-centred believers who are true, humble disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ whom we all seek to serve.
- There are intolerant zealots who dismiss all others in harsh, ungracious language.
- There are those who take the name Orthodox but never go to church and have no place for religion in their lives beyond a few cultural ‘rites of passage’.
- There are those who go through the motions of the ceremonies without understanding or even caring what it is really and inwardly all about: the ritual is enough (they think) to save them.
Now I hasten to repeat that I have met Protestants also in all these categories. Writing now entirely from a personal perspective, I believe that the first category of Orthodox have a lot to teach me. To take just one example, you seem to have a deeper reverence for the Incarnation. Of course we believe exactly what you do about it, but we make so little of it, whilst you seem to meditate on it and to seek to appreciate it. Teach me that! And doubtless much more. [This of course is why I am on the forum: not to convert you to becoming Evangelicals, nor for you to draw me into your church - despite my 'warned' status.] I also believe that, if we accepted one another as being ‘in Christ’, then the exchange of teaching and learning more of him could be mutual.
The second category I find unattractive, unconvincing and often bigoted in any church.
The third and fourth I do reject as not being true believers, not children of God by adoption, and would say, to take a phrase beloved of us Evangelicals, that they urgently need to be ‘born again’.
I hope this helps in some way towards understanding.