A long time ago, Jesus rose from the dead and also some dead saints randomly came back to life, which was cool, and then Jesus gave the Great Commission and zoomed back up to heaven, because he’d had enough sunburns and stubbed toes, and heaven doesn’t have those things, only nachos. Meanwhile, his followers, who understood basically nothing Jesus said, just stood outside looking at the sky, waiting for him to come back. So God sent two angels to sort of nudge them like “um, dudes? Can we get started on that Great Commission thing?” And then the crabbiest apostles were like DON’T TELL US WHAT TO DO and they all harrumphed in unison and it was the first Presbyterian church.
And Ed Stetzer was there, and he saw that it was good.
In the beginning, no one knew who was in charge of churches, so they made John Piper the boss, since he was the last of the original disciples who was still alive. Piper made a rule that you had to study for a long time before you got to be a pastor. That ought to screen out all the nuts, he thought, and he really believed it, probably.
So Piper invented Bible Colleges, which were places where horny Christians went to look for a spouse when they couldn’t find one in youth group. To be a pastor, you had to stay for four years (even if you found a spouse). Lots of people said “eh, no thanks,” and dropped out so they could enroll at Florida State and get drunk with the Methodists. Problem was, there were still a bunch of people who were graduating from Bible College who were not fit to be pastors.
That’s why in 1545 John Piper and Billy Graham called the Council of Trent, at Liberty University. They talked about a lot of stuff, but mostly about how to keep so many shady Christians from getting into the pulpit. Graham proposed adding another requirement on top of Bible college: separate schools, institutions where people could go and learn Greek and take classes in Homiletics, all the while accumulating crippling debt. So Piper and Graham invented seminaries, which are named after a Greek word that means “I don’t have to start out in youth ministry, do I?”
And then a bunch of other things happened, and Michael W. Smith released Go West Young Man, and he wore a vest with a sleeveless t-shirt and it was cool, even though it didn’t make sense, but God is sovereign.
Over time the different kinds of churches began to disagree on things. Probably the most important issue was coffee. In Catholic churches you weren’t allowed to bring coffee into the sanctuary, and this is why Martin Luther King, Jr led the Reformation, so that Protestants could stash Starbucks cups underneath their seats.
The reason, of course, being safety.
Probably the worst preacher in all of history was the Apostle Paul, because he once took so long going through his 6 points and 18 sub-points that he literally killed a guy, who dozed off and fell out a third floor window. Then Paul revived him, but he probably shouldn’t get credit for that, because come on man, you shouldn’t have preached so long, and what were you even preaching on because you hadn’t even finished writing the epistles.
From that point on, people started wearing watches to church and drinking coffee once they got there. Whenever the pastor took too long to wrap up his sermon, everyone would look at their watches, which meant “third floor window,” and the pastor would make a big production about only getting to Point #4, and how Points 5 & 6 would have to wait till next Sunday, and then everyone went to Sizzler and left bad tips and went home to watch the Dolphins lose.
Then a bunch of other things happened and Christianity fought a War of the Butt over yoga pants, which was an actual thing and not a joke. And Michael P Vigilante III popped and locked, and Christian Twitter flooded with thinkpieces, but God was still sovereign.
Then someone figured out that you could put entire Bibles inside of Apple products, and all of a sudden you could read Scripture on your smart phone or tablet. This made a lot of VBS directors sad, because it meant that Sword Drills were obsolete, but I’ve got news for you, Mrs. Gustafson: Sword Drills were never impartial, because that one kid always brought the Bible with the fingertip tabs and HOW WAS THAT FAIR, MRS GUSTAFSON?
Then people tried to figure out when Jesus was coming back instead of doing the Great Commission, and then there were rumors that DC Talk would get back together, and then Russell Moore and Albert Mohler had a nunchuck duel to see who would be Alpha Baptist, and I made that last one up, but still.