If It Is Institutionalized, It Has Plenty Of Time To Rise
“’Be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Matthew 16:11-12
Check out history: How many times have hospitals, colleges, universities been founded by the Church to propagate the gospel to fulfill the great commission? The YMCA, Young Men’s Christian Association, was founded as a Christian evangelistic tool in England. (See earlier blogs) only to lose the “C” in its name and be memorialized by the Village People as a place where gays can hang out. Institutions like Harvard, Yale, and the college I attended, Elizabethtown College, all started out as “Bible Colleges”, built on Biblical principles, to promote strong Christian values and prepare men for the Great Commission for Jesus Christ. Today their Religion Departments embrace every conceivable religion in the name of “religion tolerance” rather than the principle of “the only way to the Father is through the Son”, Jesus. How did we get from birthing “ministries” to developing institutions that keep their religious heritage only historically?
With time and heat, yeast makes bread rise! When putting “yeast” into bread dough, one has to “knead” it, work the yeast throughout the dough with their hands, then allow it to “rise”. Only after the yeast laden dough has risen, do you put it in the oven to bake. Out comes a fresh loaf of bed with a hard crust with soft warm bread encased in it. Bread without yeast becomes flat bread. Communion bread is often flat bread. Manna was yeast-less flat bread, supernaturally supplied by God as the Israelites were “on the move” through the dessert.
So why does Harvard, Yale, Dickenson, and Etown, institutions of higher education, look so different today to when they were founded when it comes to their faith? Yeast! Jesus, in Matthews 16:12 defines the yeast as “the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees”, the teaching of which he is so vastly critical. “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees….” he says often. They are the only group, the religious scholars of his day, which he is strongly judgmental against! These institutions were founded on a Rhema, living word, application of the Logos Word, the written Word, the Bible. Over the years the Rhema, or living application of the Logos Word has been diminished to the academic westernized head knowledge view of faith rather than the Jewish Lamad heart knowledge view. Today, Etown’s “Department of Religious Studies” features multiple courses of various nonChristian courses with its campus minster promoting the “story telling of various faiths” through tolerance to gain understanding. In fact, the news sources today revealed that Etown’s “Dept. of Religious Studies” has been chosen by President Obama to be part of a White House movement of exposing, tolerating, and accepting of many religious views in America, and being a role model for that cause.
Rhema Word, living Word, is founded on “relationship” with the Father God vertically and with their body of Christ horizontally. It is founded on the Logos Word, the Bible. When the yeast is applied into the mixture, the “teaching of scholars emphasizing academic head knowledge”, the intellect becomes more important than the actual relationship, thus the sucking the life out of and eventually killing the Rhema Word. I saw the eroding of the Logos Word at Etown in the early ‘70’s when I attended. I had an Old Testament Survey professor completely tear down the validity of the old testament scriptures to the point it was easier to believe Grimm’s Fairy Tales than to believe the Bible. Only one professor taught about “faith” and actually used that term in his course, and his course was the hardest to get into while the professor won the award for top professor on campus by the student body in spite of the jealously of his peers. The rest of the religious professors of the time were into social justice, nonviolence, and peace movements. The yeast has eroded the curriculum to the point that “Christianity” is looked upon as only “one of the many world religions” taught by the Department. Now, Jesus and the Church of the Brethren are only looked at historically, not relationally. By offering many options, Jesus is no longer taught as the “only way”. The yeast has risen. With the “baking” of time, a protective “crust” now covers the Department, protecting it from any challenge by the Church.
Revival is the only instrument that can penetrate the crust of “institutional religion”, the bread baked with yeast. Revival emphasizes the “living Bread”, the Rhema Bread, Jesus, and the evangelistic spirit of the five fold can penetrate the hardened crust of “yeast” raised bread. Revival demands “flat bread”, “yeast-less” bread because God is on the move. There is no time for religious dogma, doctrines, exegesis of every passage, or the studying of Greek and Hebrew; it is a time when God speaks to His people, the priesthood of believers in simple but powerful terms that bring life, power, and faith.
The institutional intellectual religious system will oppose any “revival spirit” through its pyramidal hierarchal structure. In Jesus’ time the Sanhedrin, composed of Jewish intellectual rabbis who opposed this new Jesus movement, could not understand how Jesus’ “uneducated” disciples could speak, teach, and live with such authority. But the flat lined, flat world, flat bread “relational” newly born Church would rise “without” yeast because it would be a “moving”, “living” organism of relationships. As long as it moves, does not get stagnant, the yeast can’t rise. With stagnation, the yeast rises, and the Church experiences “Dark Ages” in its history. “Yeast” forces relationships to yield to Religion; while “Revival” forces Religion to yield to Relationships.