Sometimes it takes forever to realize a point about a subject, and although no doubt there are those who disagree, I have completely changed my mind about the "good old days" at church when the numbers were great and everyone was ten feet closer to the Lord. For years, I have heard about how the deacons ran the church. The phrases that kept surfacing were "the deacons ran the pastor off" or "nothing will get until unless Deacon Smith approves" or the "deacons ran the church." Another element of the "good old days" is the vast numbers of people attending church on Sunday compared to the last few decades. Then there is the third element, and to me, the most revealing of what was going on during those years, the church minutes. The first two points have been discussed on this board quite a bit. Deacons are servants and not elders. In our church, the present deacon board is light years ahead of the deacon board fifty years ago in that regards. How about the decreased numbers of today? Is it that many people back then really wanted to serve the Lord and tell others the Good News, or was it a matter of there was nothing else to do? Evidence suggests it was the latter, as fifty or sixty years ago human character was the same as it is today, and the Lord has not changed. Now to the third point. In our church minutes, we have three bizarre stories from the past, mostly in the 1930's or there about. They are there for all to read, and every now and then, someone will bring them up. For years, I just reacted to them as something amusing or interesting. However, the other day when the stories were mentioned, and after having several discussions about it with some of our deacons, I see that in a new light. The three stories were three disfellowship cases. One was "because someone was mad at another member." Another was because a man and wife (married to each other) "danced with each other and would not repent." The third was for investing in the stock market. It seems to me that disfellowshipping is a very serious matter, to be prayed about, and the the example in Matthew used. The Bible is the standard, not some warped idea of morality. Not only were these people disfellowshipped for unBiblical reasons, a local congregation headed by the Lord Jesus was used to carry out this act. I thought a little more about it, and the most outrageous thing is that these people were compelled to repent for something when there was nothing to repent for. So who is it that sinned? To me it is quite clear, those that engineered and passed the vote. The Lord and Scripture were the same fifty or sixty years ago as they are today. Although less in numbers, our church is leaps and bounds more spiritually mature than the examples of the past. The good old days, no thanks, our future with the Lord is how we can serve Him in the future. My opinion is the past needs to stay there. We are here to tell others about the Gospel, and ignore the nonsense. Hopefully those who come after us to carry on the Good News will be able to look back at us as a good example.