Professional apologist Ron Henzel of Midwest Christian Outreach brings out important truth when he says in his article on the atonement of Jesus Christ:

They say the plot of a typical romantic comedy goes like this: “Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl back.” And how does the boy lose the girl? Very often it is due to some kind of misunderstanding. She misinterprets something he says, or she thinks she catches him in a compromising situation with a competing female, or is convinced by a rival male that she should question the boy’s motives. The plot devices are endless, but the bottom line is that communication is obstructed, and the relationship is interrupted.

When it came to the history of the church’s grasp of the doctrine of salvation, the plotline was very similar. If, for a moment, we allow the cross of Jesus to represent all the Bible says about salvation, the first nearly 1,500 years of church history went something like this: “The church meets the cross. The church loses the cross. The church gets the cross back.” The loss occurred when the communication of the Gospel became more and more obstructed over generations. The essential truths of salvation through Christ became muddled. They were buried in mysterious words and phrases that were not adequately explained.

And for countless people, the result was that their relationship with the Savior degenerated into superstition. The story had a happy beginning, and during the 16th century Protestant Reformation, at least, a happy ending. But in between there was a period of, if not complete darkness, then a very dim and unfocused perception. Here is a universal rule: when it comes to spiritual truth, people are naturally dense… (Online source)