In the beginning, there was the Early Church. The Early Church was pure, faithful to the Gospel (which had not yet been written), spoke in Aramaic and wrote Greek. We should not hold this against them, as Jacobean English had not yet been invented. They drank what they called wine, but this was the sort of wine which was actually miraculously unfermented grape juice. You could never get drunk on this kind of wine, which is why there were so many warnings against getting drunk.
Freed from the Law, the early Christians were able to dispense with battlements around their buildings - which was bad news for builders and, in the very short term, for Eutyches. But they learnt from their mistakes and re-introduced them - but from Grace, note - not to keep the Law.
The Early Church also had priests and bishops, but this was probably due to a bad translation into the original Greek.
They also had Early Fathers. These were often celibate, but that was all right as they chose this way of life. They weren't forced into it by the Church (as their Catholic successors were) or their wife (as I often am).
The Early Church had to battle against the Gnostics, Arians, Anglicans, Modalists, Eustachians, Docetists and Pelagians, Semi-Pelagians, Hemi-Demi-Semi Pelagians and Monarchians. True Orthodoxy was established at the Council of Nicaea or Nicea. But the Council was also an example of an Established Church - and so they chose a totally different way of going off the narrow path instead. Orthodoxy should have been established in each congregation, individually, by a democratic vote as advised by a godly pastor - and not enforced by a supra-national synod ruled over by a Pope. And so started the Dark Ages.
In the Dark Ages, the Church introduced monasteries and nunneries. Shocking places where people were forced to work and pray, in close proximity, without the presence of the opposite sex. Can you imagine the temptations of same-sexual lust to which these poor souls were exposed? I know I can.
Some improvements were attempted by Wyclif - who at least tried to write the Bible in English. It was not the King James, but at least - in his blinded way, for he was still a Roman Catholic, remember - he was trying.
Luther then made matters better, while Calvin and Arminius made them worse. But at least the Pope (all three of them) was/were getting to know their place. And Indulgences were banned by Protestants, to be replaced by Jumble Sales - they were less efficient than Indulgences, and there were no days to earn out of Purgatory, but at least they were Protestant.
And then we have the so-called "English Reformation". Let me make this straight. Any church that is founded for the sole purpose of helping out with a fat man's sex life is going to be cursed to argue about sex for the rest of its existence.
But it was John Smyth (the se-Baptist, not the Knight with the same name who founded Eileen's ungodly college) who showed people the way. The Baptists were back in the daylight - the sheep among the goats. How could God bless these godly people other than, just five years later, having the Bible translated into God's Word, the King James Version, by a group of, erm, Anglicans.
But we had better skip on swiftly, lest we think too hard on that. Suffice it to say that since that day in 1606, the Baptist thread has been woven by Particular Baptists, Strict Baptists, Peculiar Baptists, Strict and Particular Baptists, Paticularly Peculiar Baptists, Open Baptists, Closed Baptists, Early-Closing Wednesday Baptists, Independent Baptists, Union Baptists, Fundamentalist Baptists and our own Independent Funambulist Baptists. In all this, you will notice, we have one common feature. We all have different Church Names. And in our own case the Funambulism is not compulsory or regarded as a necessity to salvation (although it is a means to grace) - it is merely a result of a poorly-written Church Noticeboard.
And so, we faithful few continue to fight bravely. We look to the past, and shudder at where we have come from. And we look to the future, and think - why worry? The world's going to end next week. We shall climb on our tightropes - our own narrow paths - clutching the balancing pole with which we avoid both Papish legalism and Libertine Hedonism - and wait.