You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.
Overview: Dr. Brownson Teaches Romans 1 Only Prohibits Excessive Same-Sex Acts
This section is uniquely positioned. As will be shown below, this material, unless refuted, is sufficient to disprove Dr. Brownson’s entire position.
“The flow of the rhetoric makes it clear that the whole range of behaviors Paul describes in Romans 1, including same-sex eroticism is for him an extraordinarily powerful and excessive manifestation of lust.” (Brownson, page 154.)
Excessive is not listed in the table of contents. It flies under the radar. Yet, it is the one aspect which is crucial to Dr. Brownson’s position. Dr. Brownson claims Romans 1 only prohibits excessive acts, not all same-sex erotic acts. Therefore, coverage of excessive should be positioned clearly in the table of contents in such a way as to indicate it is the very thing that distinguishes Dr. Brownson’s position from what the church has historically believed.
Dr. Brownson spends nearly 40% of his book on the Romans 1 passage. Therefore, he recognizes that passage as the most critical one as far as same-sex marriage is concerned. Words like excessive and lust are found at least 298 times in his 300 page book. Therefore, that can very correctly be considered the main theme of his book. Combine these with quotes such as the one above where Dr. Brownson states that for Paul same-sex erotic behaviors were all the result of “. . . an extraordinarily powerful and excessive manifestation of lust.” When readers take these two facts into account along with quotes such as this it can be seen that the heart of Dr. Brownson’s argument is that he believes only excessive acts are prohibited by Romans 1.
Therefore, if it can be shown that Romans 1 does not have to do with excessive acts, certainly is not limited to only lustful acts, then Dr. Brownson’s position will be proven to be unbiblical. This is the very core of his position. All of the other material he presents in his book is secondary to it. All the other arguments become disconnected from each other without this hub of the argument about being excessive. If that central argument fails, all the other arguments fall apart and there is nothing left of his position.
The following provides an overview of the direction the discussion will take:
1 Dr. Brownson’s claim of no mutual loving relationships in Paul’s day is key.
2 Dr. Brownson acknowledges Romans 1 is the most important passage.
3 Excess and lust permeate his entire book: this is the core of his position.
4 We will focus specifically on the word excess (including excesses, excessive etc.) which appear 75 times.
5 Only 9 of the 75 total instances of excess go beyond a simple statement of his position and contain explanations why Dr. Brownson believes that is the message of Romans 1.
6 The 9 more significant examples, when examined closely, do not succeed in supporting his position.
7 Dr. Brownson claims four terms indicate Paul is prohibiting excesses, and only excesses. They are lust (epithumias verse 24), passions (pathe verse 26), consumed (ekkaiw verse 27) and passion (orexsei verse 27). However, as will be shown below, those four words indicated the desires are strong, but not one of them indicates the desires involved are excessive. So the four words Dr. Brownson claims indicate Paul is only banning excessive acts do not, in fact, point to excesses. There are four clear phrases in the passage that refer to simple, same-sex erotic acts as will be covered in a later section.
As the reader goes through this section and its sub-sections, fifteen errors in Dr. Brownson’s arguments will be identified. These fifteen errors are serious in magnitude. The reader is encouraged to give them very careful consideration as this material is evaluated.
Dr. Brownson claims “The flow of the rhetoric makes it clear . . .” that for the Apostle Paul same-sex erotic behavior is an extraordinarily powerful manifestation of lust. Although statements such as this are made multiple times, Dr. Brownson does not go beyond stating his position to show that it is, in fact, true. How exactly is it that the flow of the rhetoric makes it clear? Having examined the passage and the book a different conclusion has been arrived at. It is true that desires, epithumia, and passions, pathe, play a strong role in Romans 1. The question readers need to ask is, is it an excessive degree of desire that Paul prohibits, or does Paul prohibit all forms of same-sex erotic acts, which are the result of strong (but not necessarily excessive) desires?
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