The concept of “sanctification” is taken from the Latin word sanctificare, which is a combination of sanctus ”holy” and facere ”to make.” Sanctification, then, refers to the process of becoming more holy/righteous/good/etc, of growing or maturing in faith. While not unique to Christianity, the topic of sanctification has a long history within our tradition, particularly the question of how it relates to the concept of Justification. In other words, how does “being made right with God” (justification) relate to “being made holy” (sanctification)? Theologian Gerhard Forde, a key Mockingbird influence, saw the two as one and the same, describing sanctification as “coming to grips with your justification.” Imagine a person who has been given an absurdly expensive gift by someone who not only refuses to be repaid, but considers any attempt at repayment to tarnish the gift itself. The only course of action is to deal with the free gift, to dwell on its lavishness, to internalize its beauty, to live out of a profound sense of gratitude. This can be an uncomfortable position, much less popular than the “corporate ladder” that has masqueraded as Christian teaching throughout much of its history, mainly because it takes the whole process out of human hands. A plant does not will itself to produce fruit, after all.
We hope the following guide will explain how certain technical terms are used on the Mockingbird site.
None of these definitions are, or could possibly be, comprehensive. Hundreds of books have been written on each. We are aiming, instead, via a few broad strokes, to give a sense of how the terms are being used. It should be noted that these terms are sometimes used as shorthand for their philosophical implications, or centrifugal outworkings.