“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” – 2 Timothy 2:2-4
Like leaven or yeast, false teaching has crept into all mainline denominations. It’s interesting that God told the Israelites, through Moses, not to eat any bread containing leaven when they commemorated their deliverance from Egypt. Then Moses said to the people, “Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the Lord brought you out of it with a mighty hand. Eat nothing containing yeast” (Exodus 13:3).
The Old Testament is full of shadows that point to New Testament realities. Yeast is the shadow. False teaching is the reality. And, God wants us to have nothing to do with it. This explains why Jesus warned the disciples, “Be on your guard against the yeast (false teaching) of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
J. Gresham Machen in his classic, Christianity & Liberalism, writes:
Modern liberalism in the Church, whatever judgment may be passed upon it, is at any rate no longer a matter merely of theological seminaries or universities. On the contrary its attack upon the fundamentals of the Christian faith is being carried on vigorously by Sunday school “lessons-helps,” by the pulpit, and by the religious press. If such an attack be unjustified, the remedy is not to be found…in the abolition of theological seminaries, or the abandonment of scientific theology, but rather in a more earnest search after truth and a more loyal devotion to it when once it is found (15).
Keep in mind that Machen wrote this book in 1923. I believe he would be shocked at how far the yeast of liberalism has infiltrated denominations, churches, and seminaries. So, what is the truth? How can we discern truth from error? True believers possess two very important tools: the Holy Spirit and the Word of God (Bible). In John 16:13, Jesus said, “But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth!” The underlying problem with liberalism in the church is that it greatly distorts the truth. And the yeast of liberalism has worked its way through entire denominations and changed so many who continue to feast upon it.
What is the solution? Sound doctrine! This explains why Paul exhorted young Timothy to Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. Are you sure you’re hearing sound doctrine on Sundays? Beware of the yeast coming from modern Pharisees. Stay tuned. More truth is coming!