Bavinck on Speech Acts and the Power of God’s Word | Reformation21

Bruce Baugus

Bruce Baugus

It seems as though some version of speech act theory–the rather simple but significant observation that we use words to do things–pokes out from under every stone in evangelical discussions of Scripture these days. This has been the case at least since Nicholas Wolterstorff’s 1993 Wilde Lectures at Oxford, later developed into Divine Discourse (Oxford, 1995), and perhaps especially since Kevin Vanhoozer’s big splash, Is There a Meaning in This Text? (Zondervan, 1998). The application of speech act theory to topics in the doctrine of Scripture has generally made for stimulating but not always helpful reading. The impression occasionally cast is that scholars working in this field are plowing up fertile ground only discovered since the philosophical explorations of Austin and Searle in the 1960s. Continue reading →


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