Christian Complementarian Owen Strachan Pushing “the Nuclear Family” Narrative – Unfortunately. (The Bible Does Not Prescribe The Family or Marriage as Cures for Individual or Societal Sin)
Allow me to summarize some of my views, if you are new to this blog:
I am a conservative independent.
I was a lifelong, devout Christian until several years ago, when I began questioning the Christian faith (however, I am not an atheist, and I am not hostile against all Christians or the Christian faith, while recognizing that Christianity has some problems);
I detest sexism, and I recognize sexism exists among all groups (not just among Christians, or Republicans, or Democrats, or atheists, or Muslims, etc, but among all groups or all sorts of belief sets).
I am an ex-gender complementarian (but I do not identify as a “feminist,” for several reasons which I don’t want to get into here and now).
I am not “anti Nuclear Family,” nor am I opposed to marriage or parenthood, but, I also do not support the over-emphasis upon marriage/ family/ parenthood that many other conservatives place upon those entities.
Owen Strachan used to be a leader in the Christian complementarian group CBWM. He still promotes complementarian views on his social media from time to time.
I don’t actually follow Strachan’s Twitter at this time, but periodically, when I log in, Twitter shows his tweets to me as “you may be interested in this,” or other people I follow do follow him, and they share his tweets, or they comment on them, so they show up in my feed.
I do at times agree with conservative Christians and/or complementarian / patriarchal Christians on some topics – for example, I do not support CRT or critical theories.
I do not hate the United States, nor do I regard the USA as being hopelessly, intrinsically racist or sexist – certainly not to the degree or in the same way that liberals, progressives, and neo-Marxists do.
I do not support Marxism, neo-Marxism, socialism. I don’t hate the U.S. Constitution, nor do I want to get rid of it.
I see the dangers within this far left ideology (such as Critical Race Theory, Queer Theory, Trans Rights Activism, etc), so where Strachan and other conservative Christians, whether they are patriarchal and complementarian or not, critique those leftist movements and views where legitimate, I agree with them.
Unfortunately, Strachan still apparently maintains some incorrect, sexist, backwards ideas about women, marriage, and the Nuclear Family.
Strachan recently had this to say on his Twitter (source link):
Pretty sure I am as conservative as a human being can be, politically. Politics involves alliances. But if we aren’t conserving the natural family, the very first institution God made on the earth, the institution that funds all the others, then we have nothing else to conserve.
— end tweet —
The Bible says that Adam was created first – not a married couple.
The Bible does not command, ask, or expect anyone to “conserve the nuclear family.” To think that God does is an interpretation or assumption of the person speaking.
To those who say, well, God said it’s not good for Adam to be alone, so God created a companion, Eve, I say yes, but as the Bible moves forward, certainly by the New Testament, we can see that Jesus of Nazareth, and Paul the Apostle, de-emphasized the nuclear family unit to promote spiritual family and spiritual unity, not biological, and not marriage (more on this below).
That is to say, if you are an Adam today – that is, if you are an adult, single male with no wife – the New Testament indicates that you can and should be able to get your companionship needs met via OTHER Christians at a local gathering of believers (other Christians).
Jesus of Nazareth left his nuclear family (his mother and siblings) to befriend and get companionship needs met via twelve other men (the apostles), and via some of his platonic female friends and female ministry sponsors.
It’s not necessary to find belonging and friendship only or primarily via a marriage; the Bible teaches you can and should expect to find those things in platonic friendship with other adult Christians.
The Bible simply does not teach that a society can and will be “saved” through the conservation of the nuclear family.
If there were no nuclear families in the USA starting tomorrow, the USA could (until all members die off, assuming celibacy among singles), still be maintained.
A person does not have to be married to defend, agree with, or live by the Bill of Rights or by other American ideals and principles.
I am a never married, middle aged adult who was born and raised in the United States. I remain an American regardless if I ever marry or not. The United States remains the United States regardless if I ever marry or not.
A nation of mostly single adults can maintain a culture and a nation. Marriage is not a requirement to do so.
I’ve done many blog posts going back years now about all this.
I do not support the far left’s “anti nuclear family” positions and agenda. The left are clearly in the wrong on this.
However, the solution to fighting any anti-nuclear family sentiments from the left is not to double-down on pushing marriage, natalism, and the nuclear family, which is the approach most conservatives, especially Christian usually take. Many conservatives who promote marriage, parenthood, and the family, normally do so by shaming or denigrating singleness and childlessness, something the Bible never does.
As a matter of fact, some of the problems we see in the Bible are there because the cultures in which the Bible was written demanded and expected everyone to marry and have children.
(Such as… think of all the women mentioned in the Bible who were infertile, who had not gotten pregnant in many years, and how that created problems for them in their patriarchal culture (or how it could create problems for them in the future), how stressed and depressed they felt at not being able to have children.)
Jesus of Nazareth defied the culture and age in which he lived by staying single and childless.
As one Christian writer succinctly put it (my paraphrase of his comments), “If the Nuclear Family is first, if Marriage is first, if Parenthood is first, Jesus Christ is not.” (You can read that post here on my blog).
If you’re a Christian who continually prioritizes marriage and the family, and also do so in such a way that disparages singlehood, or to present marriage as some kind of method that can heal or fix a society, you are going beyond the bounds of Scripture.
Scripture points to the individual’s responsibility before God, and the only permanent “cure” from sin, the Bible explains, is the individual accepting Christ as his or her savior, and even then, while on earth, the person has to go through decades of sanctification.
The Bible never once teaches that a person has to marry or be a part of a nuclear family to be made whole, sinless, godly, or mature.
The Bible nowhere teaches that “the nuclear family” (or marriage) are the solutions for what ails a culture.
As a conservative, whether secular or Christian, if you want to get into side arguments about things like how you believe that too many single mothers, or children raised without fathers, can possibly create economic or moral problems for a culture, that’s all well and good, but it remains that the Bible does NOT promote a “nation will be saved by the nuclear family” type rhetoric.
Sometimes fatherhood and marriage are not safe for children, either.
I have two separate, long running posts on my blog with links to many news examples of biological fathers and / or married men who have beaten, raped, or murdered their own children.
Domestic abuse in nuclear families is still very much a problem in the USA, and most Christian churches disregard it, dismiss it, and they oddly tend to side with the abusive husband, etc.
(For such examples, see (Link): Link 1: Parenthood and (Link): Link 2: Marriage)
The Bible actually plays down the nuclear family and parenthood in a time and culture (ancient Israel, 2,000 years ago) that made much too much out of it!
Jesus of Nazareth remained single and childless, in spite of the fact that Jesus was brought up in a time and culture which over-emphasized marriage and parenthood (much like today’s Christian conservatives do) – to the point, that staying single in some nations or religious cultures at that time was a crime! It was illegal to be single back then. Illegal.
For more on that issue:
(Link): Instone-Brewer: Ancient Jews Expected All to Marry, Was Illegal to Remain Single in Ancient Rome
In (Link): 1 Corinthians 7, Paul wrote that it is better to remain single than to marry. Paul writes that,
Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. (v8) …But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this (v28)
…An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. (v33-34)
— end excerpts —
It doesn’t matter if Paul was writing that in a particular historical crisis or not, because, if God was always and fully against an adult staying single, God would not have permitted singleness as an exception during said crisis.
If staying single was just fine with God in that ancient society when Paul wrote that portion of Scripture (and it was), it’s fine now, too – with or without a crisis that sees Christians being persecuted by a government.
Paul writes in the present tense that those who marry will face many troubles in this life – indicating that marriage can be problematic for anyone at any time in history, regardless of the historical context in which this was written.
Paul writes that marriage can distract a believer from prioritizing God – which remains true in this year as I write this blog post, just as much as when Paul wrote this 2,000 years ago. The era and context in which Paul’s content was written doesn’t alter the timeless truth of that specific subject.
That is, if marriage could be distracting 2,000 years ago (and Paul says that it was), it doesn’t cease being less distracting in the year 2022 or beyond.
I’ve done previous posts on my blog about these topics before such as:
(Link): Ever Notice That Christians Don’t Care About or Value Singleness, Unless Jesus Christ’s Singleness and Celibacy is Doubted or Called Into Question by Scholars?
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site
Jesus of Nazareth did not emphasize nuclear family or marriage. He actually de-emphasized both. Such as:
Matthew 12: 46 – 50
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Matthew 10: 37, 38
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
— end excerpt —
I do not believe Jesus was against marriage, parenthood, and nuclear family, but he was more interested in spiritual family, in people’s relationships to God. Maybe Jesus was also slightly interested in fighting against the very human tendency to elevate the marital relationship or parental relationship above others, such as friendship.
If you are a married person who spends most of your time concerned only about your spouse and children, and meeting the needs of your spouse and children, you’re likely going to ignore your non-family – which goes against yet other Biblical teachings (such as Luke 10:25-37 – link to that – and James 1:27 – link to that).
If you’re a married man with children, what are you doing to aid and assist the elderly widowed men and women in your community?
Are you offering to drive them to doctor’s appointments? Some of them may be too sick to drive, or they cannot readily afford a taxi, bus fare, or an Uber.
Are you using your wife and kids as an excuse to not drive that elderly neighbor who lives alone to his or her doctor appointments, or as an excuse to avoid mowing his or her lawn for him or her, or from helping this person in whatever ways he or she needs help?
A lot of married- with- children Christian persons will either use their parenthood or marital status as excuses to not help non-family, or, they may find themselves not putting boundaries on helping their family, so that they find themselves too exhausted to reach out and help non-family.
Researchers have found that married couples are selfish, in that, married people tend to cater more to their partner at the expense of those around them. See my web page about that study called (Link): Greedy Marriages – do married people slight their friends and family? (Research says Yes, they do).
None of that means, of course, that married persons with children should ignore their spouse or children. Obviously, you should meet the needs of your spouse and children – but there should be a balance.
One guy actually replied to me (under my comments to Strachan on Twitter) that much of what I said above, which I summarized to Owen Strachan on Twitter, was “so fallacious, I don’t know where to start.” That is incorrect, and I told the guy so (prior to blocking him, as I normally hate on-going debates on social media).
Nothing I have said above or in other blog posts about these subjects is un-biblical, anti-biblical, and it’s sure not progressive or liberal (politically, I am right of center and always have been).
There’s nothing wrong with marriage or parenthood, but conservatives are just as much in error to present marriage (or parenthood or the nuclear family) as being the only “correct” path or life choice for adults, as the far left are to be hostile against marriage (and parenthood and the nuclear family).
While I don’t believe God or the Bible are against marriage (or family, parenthood), the Bible simply no where teaches that marriage (or family, etc) will or can “save” or “fix” a nation or society.
The Bible nowhere instructs Christians to “focus on the nuclear family, or on marriage,” but that is exactly what many Christians keep doing.
If you think that the nation can be saved only if everyone can marry and have a child, if you think that Christianity is true, valid, and can only be of benefit if everyone marries and has children, (which is what a lot of conservative “pro nuclear family / natalism / marriage” rhetoric assumes), you are in grave error.
It’s not only obnoxious, but AGAIN, the Bible does NOT teach that a person has to marry to be whole, made in God’s image, or to be sanctified, mature, responsible, and ethical.
(Related: (Link): The Holy Spirit Sanctifies a Person, Not A Spouse)
If your idea of American patriotism or national survival (apart from the topic of birth rates) hinges on the marital status of all or most, there’s something flawed and pathetic in your world view.
Christianity may be of benefit and can work because of the person of Jesus, who was a childless, never married adult.
The Bible does not teach that Christianity can only work or be true for a person if that person marries and has biological children. You are in extreme error if you believe or teach otherwise.
When you conservative Christians out there keep promoting marriage/ natalism/ nuclear family as you do, you need to take a long, hard pause and deeply reflect on the messages you’re conveying, and where your pro-nuclear family logic leads.
From what I’ve seen, the pro-family logic from many secular conservatives and conservative Christians leads away from biblical fidelity, from what Jesus actually taught, and into wrong, or idolatrous, unbiblical ideas about men, women, family, marriage. Is that really what you want to be doing, and all to “own the feminists, and own the libs?”
You nuclear- family- defending Christians are introducing a new set of errors in the desire and attempt to defeat the far left and the far left’s anti-family worldview, which is really no better.
It’s a fact of life that not every one will marry, whether it’s by circumstance or choice.
Some will marry only to have their spouse die. Some have to divorce because their spouse is abusive.
If you’re a marriage-harping, nuclear-family harping Christian or secular conservative, you need to factor in that marriage is not possible or not going to happen for everyone, not even for every one who’d like to marry. (I had wanted to marry but remain single, because I could not find a compatible partner.)
You need to deal with the reality that single adults exist and aren’t going away.
If your nation-defending, Judeo-Christian-defending, nation-promoting worldview is relying heavily on marriage and the nuclear family existing at all (or in large numbers), you will fail (and it’s just a faulty, unnecessarily- insulting-to-singles set of strategies and premise).
It’s better to accept reality as it is, to acknowledge it’s okay for a single adult to be single, and then plan accordingly.
(And singles cannot be fear-mongered or shamed into getting married, as are the favorite tactics of conservative Christians and of secular conservatives. This is especially so for the ones who’d like to marry. Shaming a marriage-desiring single for being single is not going to magically result in a compatible partner appearing before her out of thin air to drop to one knee and propose marriage on the spot. That is not how marriage happens in real life.)
Honestly, the conservatives who will not and cannot accept that more people are staying single now (whether by choice or by circumstance), reminds me of how the far left refuses to accept biological reality (ie., the trans agenda): women do not, and cannot have penises, by definition, for one thing.
Do you know how foolish the left looks squawking about women having penises, and men having periods, etc, all in the trans-propaganda they spew?
That’s how you hyper- marriage- promoting, hyper- nuclear- family promoting secular and religious conservatives look every time you guys refuse to accept singleness, and when you insult singleness while pushing for more marriage and for more nuclear families.
I left this Strachan guy a few tweets / comments or links, such as…
(Link): Ever Notice That Christians Don’t Care About or Value Singleness, Unless Jesus Christ’s Singleness and Celibacy is Doubted or Called Into Question by Scholars?
This post has been edited after publication to add more comments.
(Link): Jesus Christ Removed the Stigma, Shame From Being Single and Childless – by David Instone Brewer
(Link): Christianity Should Be Able To Work Regardless of Culture, Childed or Marital Status / Article: Unlike in the 1950s, there is no ‘typical’ U.S. family today by B. Shulte
(Link): Top 13 Reasons Why People Don’t Want to Get Married Any More – and Why Staying Single Makes You Happier
(Link): Federalist Magazine Staff Annoyed that Other Outlets Publish the Down Side of Motherhood and Are Requesting Sunny Motherhood Propaganda Pieces – As If Conservatives Haven’t Pushed for Motherhood Enough? The Mind Boggles
(Link): Critique of Federalist Editorial “There Is One Pro-Women Camp In American Politics, And It’s The Right by Elle Reynolds” – Do Federalist Magazine Members Realize There Are Single, Childless Conservative Women?
(Link): Really, It’s Okay To Be Single – In order to protect marriage, we should be careful not to denigrate singleness – by Peter Chin
(Link): Four in 10 Adults Between the Ages of 25 and 54 are Single, Up From 29% in 1990
(Link): Gender Complementarianism – A General Response – from a Former Gender Complementarian Who Is Still A Conservative
(Link): Nearly 4 in 10 American Adults Live Without Spouse or Partner As Single Population Grows: Pew
(Link): False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy”
(Link): Authors at The Federalist Keep Bashing Singleness in the Service of Promoting Marriage – Which Is Not Okay
(Link): Fewer Americans Think Marriage is Needed To Create Strong Families, New Poll Suggest
(Link): How Can Conservatives and Christians Keep Teaching Family is Backbone of Society when there are so many dysfunctional or abusive familes
(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings
(Link): Stop Telling Adult Singles and Adult Virgins That Their Virginity and Singleness is “For God’s Glory” – just stop it already
(Link): Salvation By Marriage Alone – The Over Emphasis Upon Marriage by Conservative Christians Evangelicals Southern Baptists
(Link): The Rebel Virgins and Desert Mothers Who Have Been Written Out of Christianity’s Early History by A. Mar
(Link): Consider The Source: Christians Who Give Singles Dating Advice Also Regularly Coach Wives to Stay in Abusive Marriages
(Link): Typical Conservative Assumption: If you want marriage bad enough (or at all), Mr. Right will magically appear
(Link): Bethke: “Christians Do Not Need To Get Married To Live A Full And Flourishing Existence”
(Link): Woman Says She is Lonely in Marriage to Husband Who Ignores Her in Favor of His Job, Watching TV, etc.
(Link): The Nuclear Family Was A Mistake – by David Brooks – and Related Links
(Link): I Married Young. I Was Widowed Young. I Never Want A Long-Term Partner Again by R. Woolf
(Link): What You Lose When You Gain a Spouse – What if marriage is not the social good that so many believe and want it to be? by M. Catron
(Link): Learning to See Your Single Neighbor by H. Stallcup
(Link): Never-Married Adult Man Named Stephen Asks Christian Host Why God Has Not Answered His 3-Decades Long Prayers To Send Him A Wife
(Link): Craigslist confessional: I’m in my 40s, never married, and a virgin—but I’m happy by Abigail
(Link): Seven Reasons Not To Get Married, According to Science
(Link): Unmarried and Childless Women Are the Happiest, Happiness Expert Claims (2019 Study)
(Link): American Romance Standards Are Changing as People Have Less Sex and Marriage Rates Drop
(Link): ‘Stop Nagging!’: Why China’s Young Adults Are Resisting Marriage and Babies
(Link): Do Married Couples Slight Their Family Members as Well as Their Friends? / “Greedy Marriages”
(Link): Single Workers Aren’t There to Pick Up the Slack For Their Married Bosses and Colleagues
(Link): It Goes In Cycles: Push For “Early Marriage” Makes the Rounds AGAIN Lately, Because of Marriage-Idolater, Singleness Shaming Brad Wilcox (Feb 2022)
(Link): Myths About Never Married Adults Over Age 40
(Link): Dear Prudence: Help! I’m Glad My Awful Husband Is Dead.
(Link): Society Has It Wrong: Married People Shouldn’t Get Benefits That Single People do Not by V. Larson
(Link): Pro-Life, Christian Sites that Flirt With Denigrating Singleness and Childlessness In Their Quest to Argue Against Abortion / Re Eric Metaxas etc
(Link): Southern Baptist Al Mohler Intimates That Childless And Childfree Adults Are Not Human (2019) – and He Thinks This is a Good and Biblical Worldview
(Link): The Media Should Stop Ignoring When Sexual Misconduct Perpetrators Are Married
(Link): Marriage-Pushing Zealot Wilcox Suggests that Being Single is Immoral: National Review Article
(Link): Why We Thought Marriage Made Us Healthier, and Why We Were Wrong by Bella DePaulo
(Link): Preacher: ‘They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Hot SEX Lives’ – and once more, never-married celibate adults and their experiences, wisdom, and input are ignored
(Link): Pew for One: How Is the Church Responding to Growing Number of Singles? by S. Hamaker
(Link): Single Adults – Why They Stay and Why They Stray From Church – Book Excerpts
(Link): Otherhood – An overlooked demographic – the Childless and Childfree Women and Singles Especially Women Who Had Hoped to Marry and Have Kids But Never Met Mr. Right (links)
(Link): Singles Shaming at The Vintage church in Raleigh – Singlehood Shaming / Celibate Shaming
(Link): “Because I was single I felt second class.”-by Chandin, former Mars Hill member & single, on Mars Hill church
(Link): Is Singleness A Sin? by Camerin Courtney
(Link): *They’re Married?!?* (Part 3) Does God Require Singles to Be Perfect Before He Will Send Them a Spouse