Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Ron Clark

Second Advisor

David Wilson

Third Advisor

Leonard I. Sweet


This dissertation involves applied research, relying on the foundation of sacramental
theology, to answer the question, "What is the sign that has the power to help people
embrace not only a sacred self-identity, but to live holy, meaningful, and abundant
lives in a largely broken and sacrilegious world?" Beginning with a review of the major
and various assumptions people have historically adhered to in the pursuit of a good
life, the dissertation proceeds to argue for the superiority of a sacramental
perspective. Employing a semiotics of baptism, chapter two provides a critical analysis
of the opposing forces of "cultural baptism" which threaten to sabotage the Spirit's
work of sanctification in people's lives. Chapter three explores the "watery thread" as
it weaves throughout the canon of scripture, pointing to the primacy of baptism as a
means of grace in its wide array of both lethal and life-giving forms. Chapter four
resurrects the voices of the church fathers as they reflected on the potency of baptism
to form disciples. Chapter five integrates theology and praxis by suggesting some
practical implications of "living wet." Finally, the conclusion reflects semiotically on
the phrase "Signed, Sealed and Delivered" as a way to further consider the power of
baptism to provide people with a sacred identity, and propel them toward a holy