Council for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood names new president

“Cancel the apology tour,” Owen Strachan exhorted complementarians at a recent gathering.

By Bob Allen

A group formed nearly 30 years ago to combat feminism in the evangelical church has named its eighth and youngest president.

The Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood announced May 12 the selection of Owen Strachan to succeed Ligon Duncan, chancellor/CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary, as president of the group formed by theologian Wayne Grudem and pastor John Piper in 1987 to promote the “complementary differences between men and women” they believe the Bible teaches.

owen strachanStrachan, 32, has served as executive director of the CBMW since the fall of 2012. He recently organized the largest gathering in the organization’s history, telling conference participants in Louisville, Ky., to “cancel the apology tour” and put forth a positive witness about what they believe is God’s intended path toward human flourishing.

Core beliefs of the CBMW are outlined in the Danvers Statement, drafted by a group of evangelical scholars meeting in Danvers, Conn., in December 1987. The statement is credited with helping to advance “complementarianism” — the idea that men are ordained patriarchs of the home while the wife serves as a helpmate in submission to her husband’s godly headship — in denominations including the Southern Baptist Convention and the Presbyterian Church in America.

Strachan, who also works as assistant professor of Christian theology and church history at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College, learned at the feet of Southern Baptist complementarians while working as editorial assistant to Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler and for Pastor Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington.

Bruce Ware, a past CBMW president and chief proponent of a controversial doctrine that the husband-wife hierarchy is modeled by the “eternal submission” of the Son to the Father in the Trinity, is his father-in-law.

“I am excited to know that Owen Strachan will be leading the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood as it faces the future,” Mohler said in a news release. “Owen is just the right leader for these times, and he presents a vibrant, contemporary and faithful vision of biblical complementarianism as one of God’s good gifts to his human creatures.”

Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and member of the CBMW board, expressed “full and enthusiastic support” for Strachan's appointment.

“The future of CBMW is bright and desperately needed,” Akin said. “Owen is the right man to lead us.”

In closing remarks at the 2014 CBMW national conference April 8 in Louisville, Strachan described the organization as a “positive, transformation-driven movement,” while acknowledging that critics sometimes force it into a defensive posture.

“We are not most excited about trolling and Internet controversy and Twitter wars,” he said. “Many people around us are very excited about that and make their identity off of that. And that is not what we spend our time doing. We see that it exists. Sometimes we have to engage to set the record straight. We do not hate the people who would oppose us, but I want you to hear me say, in 2014, at CBMW, that is not what makes us excited.”

Strahan said there is “no shame” in being a complementarian.

“Cancel the apology tour,” he said. “Be a winsome complementarian. Handle objections. Make clear that sin affects us all. We are not without sin. We love egalitarians, too, who love the gospel, but cancel the apology tour. Be a vibrant, God-inhabited man or woman to the glory of God.”

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