The key thing that the Reformation began the process of was to make clear the distinction between:
1. Church as Institution / Organisation / Structure, with truth mediated by a single divinely appointed, infallible 'priestly' human authority (i.e. the Pope);
2. Church as Body/Organism/Relationship (certainly the focus of NT Teaching), with truth freely available to all and mediated by Christ alone, through Scripture alone. The priesthood is made up of all who believe.
I think if you will look at history, Nato, you will find that the distinction between Church as Institution/Organisation/Structure and Body/Organism/Relationship has been very clear in people’s minds for a very long time before the Reformation and the relationship between the two has been the vital dynamic in all Christian societies.
I’m not seeking to defend the words ‘infallible’ or ‘i.e.’ in your definition of Church as Institution, but to attack the words ‘through Scripture alone’ in your definition of Church as Body of Christ. The words ‘infallible’ and ‘i.e.’ define the difference between the Roman Catholic church and all the other Christian churches, while the words ‘through Scripture alone’ define the difference between the Protestant churches and all the other Christian churches. But there is much more to Christianity than us and youse!
What you ought to do is find a Copt to talk to. You will find that they adhere to the same conception of authority in Christianity as Roman Catholics do, despite having been in schism for around about 1500 years. All the Eastern Churches share with Western Catholicism the conception of authority as lying in the chain of personal relationships that constitute the hierarchical bit of the One Holy Catholic Apostolic church. By holding to this Apostolic tradition, I think they have struck something like the right balance between the inflexibility of Islam and the ‘reed blowing in the wind’ mutability of Protestantism.
You will find that the Copt is pretty similar to a Catholic. I think I have written this somewhere here before, but when I heard a Coptic Priest speak when I was in Devil Bunny City I was struck by how much more Catholic he was after 1500 years of separation than Luther had been after five. Among other things, you will find the traditions of prayers for the dead and veneration for the Mother of God, which Luther dispensed with, going strong in the Coptic community.