Herein lies the cundundrom;
If the Church became apostate in the first century after Christ, while there were still those who knew and were instructed by Apostles who walked with Christ, then how does one TRUST the Bible as inerrant if the very people who they claim were in error decided which books were canonical? Either they were right, or the Bible is a collection of books put together by heretics. It cant be both.........
I believe most Protestants worry about what happened after the Church was accepted by the State. And most believe it was a very gradual process...I agree with Augustine on far more than I disagree.
As for the argument of canon, please read this thread I started a while back:
How We Got the New Testament - 2 1/2 Views (LONG!)
By 1000+ AD, Rome split from the Orthodox and went further and further astray.
Brace yourself, Mr R....countdown to ignition, 10..9..8..7..6 (maybe everyone already went to bed) - you may have a reprieve. ;)
We agree with the Orthodox far more than either we or the Orthodox agree with you, and both we and the Orthodox agree far more with the undivided church of the 5th century, or the 4th, or the 3rd ... than we do with you.
Incidentally, "tradition" simply means the understanding of the faith and of the scriptures which the church has continuously held and which has deepened over the years.
To reject tradition means that you have to assert, in effect, that the Holy Spirit guides you, but hasn't been guiding other Christians continuously over the past two millennia. If he did guide them, you should listen to them.
Y'all understand that instinctively already. That's why you quote Spurgeon and Calvin to one another. Once you do that, you're already admitting the utility of tradition. Now the only question becomes ... whose tradition.