TOPIC: Tim Keller and Speech Act Theory

2018-10-13T19:46:01+00:00 Oct 13, 2018|

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.  Colossians 2:8

The reason the framers of The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel wrote the document is spelled out in its Introduction: “We are deeply concerned that values borrowed from secular culture are currently undermining Scripture in the areas of race and ethnicity, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality. The Bible’s teaching on each of these subjects is being challenged under the broad and somewhat nebulous rubric of concern for “social justice.”

As we have discussed recently on the program, a division has taken place within the more biblically conservative side of Evangelicalism over this issue of “social justice.”

For instance, Tim Keller, the highly regarded Evangelical founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, vice president of The Gospel Coalition, and author of numerous influential books, said this about the Statement:

“You can’t just analyze words by what they say, you also have to analyze words by what they do. . . . When I go through [the Statement]—if you go really, really strictly—I think just about anybody would take about eighty percent of it. . . . But in the end what concerns me most about it is not so much what it’s saying but what it’s trying to do. . . . It’s trying to marginalize people who are talking about race and justice. It’s trying to say, ‘You’re really not biblical.’ And it’s not fair in that sense.”

Keller referenced the Speech Act Theory as his basis for his view that words can’t just be analyzed for what they say but also for what they do.

Our guest this weekend on The Christian Worldview is Cameron Buettel, researcher and writer for Grace to You, will join us to discuss his recent column on the ramifications of the Speech Act Theory on interpreting words.

Further reading:

How Do Christians Fit Into the Two-Party System? They Don’t by Tim Keller, New York Times, Sept. 29, 2018