My friend Alan referred me to this article, whose main premise (if you're adverse to reading the whole thing yourself) is that an ecclesiastically or organizationally unified Church such as Rome or the Orthodox is no better off re: doctrinal unity than a conglomeration of doctrinally divided institutionalized churches (i.e, the various Protestant confessions) because of internal conflicts and differences of opinion within the confession re: certain theological issues.
My thoughts (which can also be read under the article in the comments section if you want to click there) would be that the difference between the more ancient confessions and the more recent Protestant groups lies in Hebrews 6:1-2:
"Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment."In our view, the conflicts that Protestant groups have with each other stem from those things we would define as "elementary principles"--the nature of faith and works, the nature of baptism, the nature of the laying on of hands, of the end times, as the passage indicates--while those that the Catholics and the Orthodox have each within their respective communions are much more recent. Having settled these elementary principles through Holy Tradition, we now struggle within our respective families to ascertain what the proper way to engage today's culture is...in our case as the Orthodox, which calendar do we use? How do we receive converts in THIS day and age, since many of the converts are coming from backgrounds the authors of Scripture and the later fathers never DREAMED of? We Orthodox all absolutely agree on what the nature of baptism is--it is the moment of regeneration from being buried in Christ and raised with Him and is available to all people--but the application of said sacrament under these unique circumstances eludes us; we are praying for a unified response to come, as we believe it (eventually) will.
So are we perfectly united in all respects today? No, and in that fact--that we are not in total unity of belief--we have something in common with the Protestants. Yet I would rather have merely the problems of today and know that the problems of the apostolic age are settled, so we don't have to go back and re-search the Scriptures in every generation to see if we've got something as basic as baptism right.
Similar symptoms; two different diseases.