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Most Protestant Churches have tried their hardest to follow the early church examples. Many denominations have leaders that are responsible for important decisions (like the Pope). But, of course, no, there is no central authority (like the Pope). That is precisely one of the biggest reasons Protestants cannot follow the RC. Presbyterians have the presbyters, or ‘deacon/elders’ office. Anglicans still have bishops and run much like the RC but again reject the office of one supreme ruler. Anabaptists have a board of eldars that are elected (most leaders in any Protestant church are elected by the church members) as well as others. To be honest, I think these systems have worked very well. The only problem is the Episcopalian independence (somewhat) from the Church of England. There they may choose to follow the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury or split (very sad situation indeed in regards to the gay issues).

Even Luther was not the sole authority of the early Reformers, nor Calvin, or Zwingli. Their search to organize and develope from the early church model has been followed as much as possible to this day in Protestant denominations. They preferred the bishop/presbyter model of the NT and early church and saught as democratically as possible a system of authority in which none might have the authority of God, this was believed to be given to the Holy Spirit in its inspiration of the Church. The term “sect” in reference to Protestant believers would be taken quite offensively by any Protestant. What makes a body a sect is dependent on the view. Many Protestants hold that the RC strayed from the Early Church and that the Reformation was an essential step to get away from the ‘sect’ that the RC had brought believers into. This was a very common and highly electric issue for the early Reformers. Some (especially Southern States conservative Protestants) hold this view still.