Ernest Bernet

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Sacred Theology (STM)


Systematic Theology

First Advisor

Charles Arand

Scripture References in this Resource

Matthew 1:20-21; 1 Corinthians 9:5; Acts 1:14; Galatians 1:19; Galatians 4:4; John 2:12; John 7:3, 5, 10; Luke 1:26-35; Luke 1:43; Luke 2:7; Luke 8:20; Mark 3:31; Mark 3:32; Mark 6:3; Matthew 1:18; Matthew 1:25; Matthew 1:30-34; Matthew 12:46


The problem with the doctrine of sanctification is multifaceted. However, Senkbeil, in the above material, has identified for us two main facets in the problem: 1) speaking of justification without properly addressing sanctification, and 2) speaking of sanctification without properly addressing justification. The respective results of these problems are: 1) the whole matter seems to be God’s doing, or 2) the whole matter seems to be our doing.

In order to sift through these issues in sanctification which Senkbeil identifies, I propose for this study that we begin with a semantic method rather than speaking immediately in the traditional doctrinal categories and terminology.

I am proposing the use of this method, which I will soon explain below, because I maintain that it helps us to identify and understand the confusion in speaking of “sanctification." Briefly put, we are using this word in generally two different ways. Once we understand these two meanings and their relation to each other we will be a long way toward clearing up the confusion in discussing the term. Then, after we have cleared up the language, we may return to the more traditional dogmatic categories and terminology in addressing the doctrine of sanctification.

The semantic method that I propose for our use in this study is that we look at the "external entailment" of the word "sanctification." The external entailment of a word is the set of implications that go with it but are not apparent. Since all language tends to be shorthand, this involves stating what is implied. This will become clearer as we begin the process of unpacking the external entailment in "sanctification.” ‘The method for unpacking the external entailment of verbally-based words such as "sanctification," is to turn the word back into a verb ("sanctify") and then fill out the rest of the implied sentence in respect to subject, object, and modifiers. Thus, we will ask such questions as, "Who sanctifies?" (subject); "Who is sanctified?" (object); "How does sanctifying take place?" (adverb of means);"When does sanctifying happen?" (expressions of time); and "What does sanctifying effect?" (expressions of result).

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.