Errors #14 and 15

Error #14: “Shameless” Links Romans 1 to A Universal Prohibition of Same-Sex Erotica

The Greek words used in verse 27, ten aschemosynen, link it to Leviticus. The noun form of aschemosynen appears only in Revelation 16:15. The adjectival form appears only in I Corinthians 12:23. The related verbal form is found only in I Corinthians 7:36. Therefore it is a rather unusual term Paul chose to use. In the Septuagint the majority of the instances of the noun form is found in Leviticus 18:6-19 and 20:11, 17-21. In the Septuagint the word aschemosynen is used to translate the Hebrew erwa. Of the 51 times erwa is found in the Hebrew Old Testament, 30 of them appear in Leviticus 18 and 20. And every one of them is translated by aschemosynen in the Septuagint. This allusion is another indication that Paul is harking back to Levitical law. (Ibid. pages 238-39.)

Paul used a relatively unusual term, aschemosynen, in Romans 1. That word is used more than seven times more frequently in just the two chapters of Leviticus 18 and 20 of the Septuagint than it is used in the entire New Testament. That term links his message of Romans 1 to the clear message of Leviticus 18 – one male is not to lie with another male. This is very direct and clear language.


Error #15: "What Ought Not To Be Done"

Verse 28: “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.”

Verse 28 explicitly carries the same message as the shameless message of verse 27, “to do what ought not to be done.” It does not say “to do something in a way it should not be done.” Perhaps some would respond that this is pressing the language too far. It is expecting too much of it. In common language today it is reasonable to expect to hear a parent tell a child they did something they shouldn’t have done when they hugged their sibling so hard the sibling had trouble breathing. Hugging is not bad; one just must not do it in a hard or excessive manner. Yet the parent would say they had “done something they shouldn’t do” rather than saying “they did something in a manner they shouldn’t do.” The difference between these two is that God’s Word is not merely “common language.” When it comes to something as significant as is same-sex marriage good in God’s eyes we can expect God’s Word to reveal to us what is good and right. Therefore, God could very easily have indicated doing something in a certain manner if that is what He meant, rather than simply saying, “doing what ought not to be done.”

The chiastic structure of this passage indicates verse 28 forms a type of parenthesis with verse 21. Therefore, “what ought not to be done” refers to the actions listed in verses 21-28, it is not forward looking, referring to the actions listed in verses 29-31.

This is a serious error. The wording “. . . to do what ought not to be done . . .” is language that plain and simply, clearly supports the historic interpretation that Romans 1 prohibits all same-sex erotic acts. Yet, James Brownson never once deals with those words from verse 28 in his entire book. If a theologian is going to advocate an understanding that is different from the historic interpretation, that person then owes it to his or her readers to show how that interpretation is not correct. You can’t do that if you never deal with the exegetical evidence that supports that understanding.

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