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Summary: The major theme of social questions has always been, and will always be, how do I relate to the opposite sex. You cannot escape these issues, for they are like the air we breathe, and are everywhere present.

John Woolman, the Quaker, demonstrated the power of the

question to change lives. In the 18th century many of the

wealthy Quakers were slave holders. He was convinced this

was inconsistent with Christian compassion, and he vowed

he would rid the Quakers of this terrible blight. His strategy

was not to picket, or hold rallies. He did not publish

vindictive sermons against slavery, and those who practiced

it. Instead, he spent 30 years traveling up and down the

length of the land visiting the slave holders. He would

accept their hospitality, and ask them questions about how it

felt, as a child of God, to own slaves. He did not condemn,

but just kept asking disturbing questions.

What does owning slaves do to you as a moral

person? What kind of an institution are you passing on to

your children? These honestly asked questions sensitized the

conscience of the Quakers, and brought forth something

noble in their hearts. The result: One hundred years before

the Civil War not a single Quaker held slaves. By means of

questions Woolman changed the course of history for his

people.

Robert Louis Stevenson was right when he said, "You

start a question and its like starting a stone from on top of a

hill; away the stone goes, starting others." Questions are the

key to education. Every student needs to ask questions to

learn. Every teacher needs to ask questions to teach

effectively. The Bible is full of questions that have changed

lives and history. Paul asked on the Damascus Road, "Lord,

what wilt thou have me to do?" The answer has changed the

entire world. The Philippian jailer asked, "What must I do

to be saved?" The answer of believing on the Lord Jesus

Christ led him and millions since into the kingdom of God.

Jesus was a Master at the art of using questions. To the

group of His disciples he would ask, "Who do men say that I

am?" Then He would draw from them what they had

heard, and by so doing keep His finger on the pulse of the

times. To Peter He asked, "Lovest thou me more than

these?" And by this got Peter's personal commitment.

After His parables, He would often ask the Pharisees

questions like, "Who then was truly a neighbor to the one

who fell among thieves?" Or, "Now which of them will love

Him more?" Jesus was using questions all the time.

The point is, questions are vital to growth. They get us

into new territory. This whole chapter of I Cor. 7 is the

result of questions the Corinthian Christians asked Paul.

Paul is here being the Ann Landers, and Dear Abby of the

early church. They are constantly being asked questions

about the male and female relationship. It just goes to show

you, no matter how much things change, they are still the

same. The questions asked of Paul 2000 years ago were the

same questions that are asked everyday in advice columns.

The reason for this is simple, no matter how much

technology changes human life, it does not change the basic

problems of the male-female relationship. The computer

does not change the fact that they still love each other, lust

for each other, and in varying degrees, hate each other.

Progress has not changed this one iota.

The major theme of social questions has always been,

and will always be, how do I relate to the opposite sex. You

cannot escape these issues, for they are like the air we

breathe, and are everywhere present. It is part of the human

environment, and even monks who live in the desert discover

that one of their biggest problems is the battle with the issue

of sex. Nobody escapes. I Cor. 7 leads us into the universal

topic man is capable of considering. It is the battle of the

sexes. This is one of the most complex battles of life, and the

result is, we see Paul being more flexible and more cautious

in this chapter than anywhere else in his epistles. He makes

clear the distinction between what is God's command, and

what is his own conviction.

Paul was an idealist, and he could conceive of ways that

life could be better, but he was also a realist who knew life

was not that way, and so we see him operating on two

different levels right from the start. His first piece of advice

sets the tone for the whole chapter. He starts off with this

lofty statement, "It is well for a man not to touch a woman."

He is not referring to Typhoid Mary either, but to all

women. But then, as if to say, I know that is like asking a

fish not to touch water, he goes on to deal with how men

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