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Seminarian shares Gospel with 70 on airplane
April 19, 2004
By David Roach
Southern Seminary student Ed Stucky had the providential opportunity to share Christ with more than 70 people on a recent airplane flight. Stucky attributes the opportunity to the grace of God. Photo by David Merrifield
Ed Stucky planned to read during a recent plane ride from Orlando to Louisville.
But when fellow passengers began asking questions about the Bible, the Southern Seminary student from Townsend, Tenn., found himself standing in the aisle and sharing the Gospel with more than 70 people.
Stucky began the flight reading Bible commentaries in preparation for an upcoming sermon. When a fellow passenger remarked that she was taking a New Testament class in college, however, Stucky initiated a conversation that would develop into an opportunity to tell half of the airplane about salvation in Christ.
Upon hearing about the young college student’s study of the Bible, Stucky asked her whether she had a personal interest in knowing the Scriptures.
“We talked a little about the Bible, and I [said] that I not only believed that the Bible was great literature but that it was the inerrant Word of God,” Stucky said. “Everything in it was written for God to reveal Himself to us, and we should have more than just a casual interest in it because it holds answers to all of life’s problems and questions.”
As Stucky talked about the Bible, four additional people began listening to the conversation. Within minutes, a man across the aisle asked if he could listen, and Stucky’s audience totaled 11 people.
When a passenger commented that he prayed regularly but did not have a clear picture of God’s character, Stucky explained how God reveals Himself through the Bible.
“Everybody seemed to be really interested in what I was saying,” he said. “By the time I got done with [the subject of] God’s revelation, there were three people standing in the aisle listening. I thought, ‘This is too much. Now I’ve got 15 people that I know are engaged in the conversation.’”
Within minutes, Stucky was forced to stand in the aisle due to the large number of people who wanted to hear his remarks. When a woman one row behind him asked, “Wasn’t Jesus just a good teacher? Aren’t there many ways to God?” Stucky began explaining that Jesus provides the only way of salvation.
“It was the perfect opportunity,” Stucky said. “I said, ‘Jesus said that He was the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through Him. So He couldn’t have just been a good teacher.’”
Stucky continued, citing an argument from C.S. Lewis, “[Jesus] either had to be a liar, a lunatic or Lord. And those are the only three options that work. He either had to be crazy and totally deceived and thought He was the Son of God. Or He had to be a liar, and He knew He wasn’t and He just mis-portrayed Himself. Or He had to be Lord. He can’t be a combination of those things.”
As Stucky spoke about Christ, other passengers began to listen and one asked what Stucky thought about Mel Gibson’s “Passion” movie.
“I said, ‘I haven’t seen it myself,’” Stucky said. “‘I’ve heard a lot about it, and ... I think it reinforces the fact that America is searching for something real.
“‘When I think about the God of the universe coming to this world to die to pay for my sins, a death that I couldn’t pay, it moves me because I have a relationship with God. We can’t pay for the sins that we commit. ... We’re all born sinful, yet God requires death for that sin. So to provide a way for us to have a relationship with Him, He sent His Son to die.’”
As Stucky finished explaining the Gospel, the plane started its final decent into Louisville. Stucky took his seat and realized that more than 70 people had been listening to him.
“The last thing that happened before I got off the plane was that the young lady that was sitting beside me said that she would find her way to church the next morning, which was Sunday morning,” Stucky said.
He was surprised that he was able to stand and speak for so long without being told to stop.
“I attribute it to the grace of God, and I was amazed not only that I was allowed to stand up in the plane that long but also by the way God ordered the questions to facilitate the Gospel presentation,” Stucky said.
This unique evangelistic encounter reminded Stucky that people are searching for spiritual answers, he said.
“If cogent, clear arguments are put forth, people are willing to listen,” Stucky said. “People really are looking for answers, and we’ve got them and we’ve got to get them out. We can speak with confidence and know that people are searching.”