The Reformers and their Stepchildren, Chap. 1, Introduction
Luther and all the Reformers were faced with a dilemma between a confessional church of personal faith and a regional church of all in a given area. The two are mutually exclusive. They wavered between them and kept trying to meld them together and compromise, causing the Stepchildren to withdraw. But the Reformers became increasingly hostile to them; Luther described the Stepchildren in derogatory terms, and wrongly applied 1 John 2:19 to them because they once were part of his movement.
This still goes on today. Regardless of the particulars, the powers and rulers in the "regional church" have no tolerance for those who leave it, thinking nothing of ruining the reputations of victims while protecting the reputations of perpetrators. The powers may squabble amongst themselves for preeminence, but they are united in their quest to control and subjugate the masses, not at all unlike the political forces that would fight amongst themselves to see who will dominate the world. Domination is never in doubt; the argument is over the name and creed of the overlords. Individuals and people of conscience and principle are not endured lightly, and if the overlords had all the state power they crave, such individuals would be jailed or executed and Bibles would be burned. Persecution is never worse than when religion has the power of the state.
The book is arranged according to the various derogatory names used against these "stepchildren". The material here is my own (Paula Fether) assessment and summary. Please visit BooksChristian.com or Amazon.com to purchase the book. Very highly recommended.