Recently I was in a large group of people who were assembled at the local courthouse. A Baptist minister was talking to a friend just behind me, and although I wished to have some quiet time to read while I was waiting, his voice was too loud for me not to hear the conversation. He mentioned how Protestants have a habit of splitting up. Being a Baptist minister, he would no doubt be well acquainted with this, for there are many different kinds of Baptist believers. When I lived in Texas, a Baptist neighbor of mine, who did not like any of the Baptist churches in his area, started his own local Baptist church a few miles away.
The Roman Catholic Church has made large capital of this fact, and in their literature, the almost innumerable sects and splinter groups of Protestantism are compared in an unfavorable light with the “one and only” Roman Catholic Church.
Ellen White also has some pointed things to say about this in her writings, giving the major reason.
“The unity for which Christ prayed does not exist. Instead of one Lord, one faith, one baptism, there are numberless conflicting creeds and theories. Religious faith appears so confused and discordant that the world know not what to believe as truth. God is not in all this; it is the work of man—the work of Satan.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 233.
As we draw near the end of time, these numberless conflicting creeds and theories will increase.
“Satanic delusions and deceptions will increase as we near the end of earth’s history.” The Signs of the Times, June 4, 1894.
But in the midst of all the divisions that we presently see, and which will increase in both the world and among the professed followers of Jesus Christ, there will be developed a group of people who (1) do not participate in the surrounding apostasy and refuse to be a part of any group that is in open sin and at the same time (2) come into the perfect unity with one another that Jesus prayed for in John 17.
Every Christian who wants to be a part of this final remnant who will be ready to greet the Lord Jesus in peace and purity at His coming (Ephesians 5:25–27) should remember the divine warning: “It is impossible for you to unite with those who are corrupt, and still remain pure.” The Review and Herald, January 2, 1900.
But it is not enough to fulfill only the first condition; we must also fulfill the second. With the divisions that have been present in all Protestant groups for hundreds of years it may seem impossible, but we will see how it will happen in future editorials.