Owen Strachan has a legit PhD. He teaches at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He knows the Bible. He knows the ancient languages. He’s intelligent (I’m assuming). And yet, there is something really, really wrong going on with, not only Owen himself, but people like him.
Last week, Strachan tweeted the following: “Just so you know: There is not a single edit you could make to Scripture to improve it. Anything you would do to amend so much as a biblical comma would drastically demote it. You can’t improve the Word of God. You’d only ruin perfection. Keep your edits on the shelf.”
Now, if you’re not aware, there is no such thing as “biblical commas.” The oldest copies of both the Hebrew Old Testament and Koine Greek New Testament are written with no punctuation whatsoever. Strachan knows this. He must. Hell, I do, and I’m only a “lowly” social services coordinator (PSC) with an undergrad degree. He’s a doctor (PhD). Of theology!!! So, what gives? Why say something so false? Why use such hyperbolic rhetoric?
Well, I can only speculate. I don’t know the man, and based on his Calvinistic theo-douchery, I’m not sure I need to. Been there, done that, got the biblical gender role tee shirt. But my guess is basically this: His theology demands it.
Let me explain.
Strachan is a Calvinist. His Bible is inerrant and infallible. His gender roles are biblical. His hell is eternal. His God is Janus-faced. All that to say: His theological walls are thick and rigid, like his brain. Should they come crumbling down, his entire worldview comes with it.
To that end, it doesn’t matter that Strachan has a PhD in theology. It doesn’t matter that he’s likely quite intelligent, that he is probably fluent in both Hebrew and biblical Greek. It doesn’t matter because his credentials are only used as an attempt to give a movement – conservative, white, patriarchal evangelicalism – some credence.
But this movement has lost all semblance of respect in this country. They lost it when they attached themselves to figures such as Bob Jones (going way, way back), Pat Robertson, Ronald Reagan, Franklin Graham, Eric Metaxas, and of course, Donald J. Trump and Co. And instead of repenting of their ways, they’ve largely double-downed on the nonsense.
This is the problem with conflating credentials with truth. (As a note, I am of course of the belief that credentials are vitally important in this country. Anti-intellectualism is a disease, and the conservative Christian has been sick for a long time.) But credentials are also not the end-all-be-all when it comes to truth. Strachan is proof of this. Strachan is proof that you can be highly credentialed and a grifter at the same time. And based on Strachan’s accolades within the conservative evangelical movement, he is proof that they’ve again fallen for it hook, line, and sinker.
I don’t say this to demonize this man. Again, I don’t know him personally. I’m sure he, like everyone else, has some redeeming qualities. But I am frankly sick and tired of seeing highly-touted religious leaders putting forth highly-harmful theological Σκύβαλον (that means shit, but you knew that Owen). I’m sick of seeing women suffer under Strachan and Co.’s complementarian theology. I’m sick of the LGBTQ community – a community I am personally a part of – suffering under the Bible’s so-called “clear” admonishment of us. I’m sick of fear-based religion. I’m sick of theological gatekeepers like Strachan who get to determine everything from who God is to who gets into the pearly gates in the end. But more than anything, I’m sick of commas. Who needs them? Not the writers of the Bible.
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