The Yeast We Can Do
Dylan Pahman on Two Kinds of Leaven & Three Spiritual Disciplines
The metaphor of leaven has two opposite but related uses in Scripture. Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which, when mixed with (or "hid in") flour, works its way through a whole lump of dough (Matt. 13:33). St. Paul, on the other hand, twice uses the metaphor of yeast as a warning. In one instance, he exhorts the Corinthians to cast out a sexually immoral man from among them, since he will corrupt (or has corrupted) the whole community (1 Cor. 5:4–6). Similarly, he cautions the Galatians against putting their faith in circumcision rather than in Christ (Gal. 5:3–9), for embracing this one error may hinder them from obeying the truth. Despite the opposite points made by Jesus and Paul, the basic meaning of the metaphor of the leaven is clear: little things often have big consequences.
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Dylan Pahman is a research fellow at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, where he serves as executive editor of the Journal of Markets & Morality. He is the author of Foundations of a Free & Virtuous Society (Acton Institute, 2017).
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