in all the years of hearing or reading the claim that one Church or another has "the Fullness" I have not found out clearly what is meant.
I have some idea, though certainly not comprehensive and probably quite inaccurate at least in some cases because I write as an outsider. It seems to me that:
Pentecostals believe they have the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit, whilst others do not;
Calvinists believe the Augustinian view of sin and grace (including predestination) is at the heart of Christianity
Brethren believe they have returned to the correct biblical way to organise a church
Nazarenes (and similar 'Holiness' groups) believe in 'entire sanctification' sometimes called Christian perfection
Charismatics believe groups outside their own movement are locked into the past and missing out on God's present work
Orthodox (you know better than I!) believe they are the only true church and (am I right?) cherish their Tradition and sacraments which other denomiations lack
Roman Catholics - well, I don't know, but I would guess the mass and the infallible pope are a significant part of it.
Actually I don't think we Baptists use this kind of terminology, though some of the remoter reaches of the Baptist churches do seem to feel that they - or almost they - are the only ones who have got it right. But happily I think they are comparatively few and far between.
I do think (reading the contributions to this forum) that you Orthodox have an exaggerated or distorted perception of division among Evangelicals - unless (I am not being sarcastic) it is a perception truer in America than in England and Wales. But more, perhaps, on the underlying unity and mutual acceptance among different 'brands' of Evangelical in a later posting.
Have you heard of landmark Baptists? OR Baptist briders? I was raised Baptist and some think that the Baptist church was started by John the Baptist. My own mother believed this, until I showed her that the Baptist church/churches was only 400 years old. I told her that they didn't come from the middle east, but from England, and from England to America.
So a good number of Baptists won't convert because they think their church/churches was the one started by John the Baptist. So I think for a good number of Baptists, it is a lack of education in "church history".
My mom also believes that one day all the churches will become one. She doesn't like all the division that she sees so she finds comfort in the idea that one day all the denominations will merge into one Church. I try to tell her that the more you go back into history the less division/denominations you will find. And if you keep going back then you will see that there was one church, and that church still exist. When I was protestant, I too held on to a similar belief that my mom has.
Another idea I found among some Baptists, is that everything will be sorted out once we all get to heaven. And I think this too is a reason why some Baptists stay Baptist. They feel that everything will be made right once we die. ...Or when Jesus comes back, so there is no need to change churches.
To be honest,
There are alot of different reasons why various protestants don't become Orthodox. What may be an issue for one Baptist, may not be an issue for another Baptist.......let alone another protestant.
It takes time, prayer, and alot of struggle with doctrine/doctrines, passions, cravings, and external worldy events that are beyond our control.
It took me 10 years, and it was a combination of all the above.
But I disagree with you about the distortion of a lack of unity between evangelicals. I use to be Protestant as well as a good number of Orthodox on this forum. I can't speak for them, but I can speak for my self when I say that the lack of unity among protestant evangelicals is real.
I was raised Baptist, but in my highschool and early college years, I was heavily inlfuenced by old school Pentecostalism and the less strict, do whatever you want Charismatics. I wasn't able to see alot of division in highschool, but I saw alot of it in college. The Church of Christ fought with other protestant groups over Baptismal regeneration, as well as other issues, The Methodhist had their wesly foundation (of which I was a part of), the Prespyterians had their campus outreach (in which I had a good time at), the Seventh day Adventists had their own group(in which I went too alot), the Oneness Pentecostals had their thing (I helped out with one of their events), there was an African(Nigeria) Pentecostal church called "Deeper Life", that had a campus ministry (I went to their thing alot as well).
And there were alot more groups as well. You had Baptists that were Reformed Baptists, some were Dispensational Baptists, others were what I would call Calminian Baptists, some were 4 point Calvinist Baptists. And you had Baptists that were more secular minded and liberal.
And we argued all the time. All the time........I repeat, we argued alot!!! So I know about the divisions within Protestantism. When I graduated from college I joined an Anglo-Catholic parish in the ECUSA (Episcopal Church).
But before then, I churched hopped, I visited all kinds of different protestant churches. I even visited a Greek Orthodox Church back then......but that's another story.
So I disagree with you. We are not distorting the lack of unity among protestants.
I was raised Baptist and the Baptist church I grew up in split 2 or 3 times. So you can't convince me that we distort the lack of unity among protestants. I love christian rap and mannnnn.........there is alot of fueding going on in the christian rap world between the Reformed, and Calvinistic christian rappers against the more Arminian, Word of Faith, Pentecostal and Charismatic christian rappers. I'm sure a similar thing is going on in the christian rock world.
So I must disagree with you, because eventhough I am no longer Protestant, I still keep an eye on whats happenning in Protestant land. I'm still friends with most of my protestant friends, so......I'm still in the know.