Concerning Errors 3-5

Error #3 Epithumia Did Not Mean "Excessive"

          Dr. Brownson’s interpretation of Romans 1, and then his entire position on same-sex marriage, rests to a large extent on four Greek words. Epithumia in verse 24 is the first of these four.

          Epithumia has never before been defined as excessive or self-destructive. Neither Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament nor Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker’s A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature define it that way. There is a significant difference between an intense desire and excessive. When Paul had an intense desire to be with believers in Thessalonica, he did not have an excessive desire to be with them. If Dr. Brownson does in fact have a new insight into the meaning of this word, one that differs with the accepted authorities, then he needs to make a good case which verifies that position. He doesn’t do that.

          This is a serious error. A word which means intense desire is claimed to mean excessive but it is not proven. Dr. Brownson then uses an unacceptable definition, that has never been used before, as evidence to support same-sex marriage as acceptable to God, when it was understood to be an abomination before God for centuries.

Error #4 Pathe Did Not Mean "Excessive"

          The second of the four key Greek terms is pathe, which is found in Romans 1:26 and is often translated passion. As with the term epithumia above, Dr. Brownson states multiple times that it means excessive, but at no point in his book does he show that to be the case.

Error #5 Biblical Use of a Term Holds Precedent Over Sources Outside the Bible

          There is a separate error in Dr. Brownson’s treatment of the Greek word pathe that is also very serious in nature. Dr. Brownson turns primarily to sources outside the Bible when he arrives at the definition of excessive. The Bible often did not use certain words the same way the Greek culture did at that time. A very important rule for understanding the Bible is to determine how it uses words. As covered in the last email (and posted on the Dialogos website as well) there are four separate phrases in Romans 1 which very clearly point to erotic same-sex acts. The term pathe is very general in nature, while those four phrases are very specific. Because those four phrases clearly define what kind of passions Paul is referring to, we do not need to turn to Zeno or other Greek authors to find out what he meant by pathe.

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