ARTICLE

"The 15:17 To Paris": Heroes And Their Faith

News Image By John Stonestreet/Breakpoint.org February 12, 2018
Share this article:

A major studio has just released a film about three heroic Americans who stopped a terrorist attack—and it ties that heroism to their Christian faith.

On August 21, 2015, a high-speed train left Brussels bound for Paris. Among the more than 500 passengers was a 25-year-old Moroccan man named Ayoub El Khazzani.

Shortly after the train entered France, he emerged from the bathroom armed with an assault rifle and 270 rounds of ammunition, intent on perpetrating another terrorist massacre.

After throwing one passenger to the floor and shooting another, he entered a compartment containing three life-long friends from Sacramento: Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos.


You probably know what happened next: Skarlatos yelled “Get him,” and the three friends charged the gunman and subdued him. In the process, Stone, who was an Air Force medic, was stabbed several times. But despite his injuries, he treated the passenger who had been shot, placing his fingers into the man’s wound and pressing on an artery, which stopped the bleeding.

Now you may remember hearing about this story. But what you may not know is the role that the Christian faith played in it. Thanks to Clint Eastwood’s new film, “The 15:17 to Paris,” that part of the story will get the attention it deserves.

The film opens today with the tag line “In the face of fear ordinary people can do the extraordinary.” The audience, of course, already knows what the “extraordinary” is, so Eastwood sets out to boldly tell “how” and “why” Stone, Skarlatos, and Sadler did what they did. In his words, their story “is all about faith and how you handle it.”

His first, and perhaps boldest move was to cast the trio of heroes as themselves in the movie. After considering many good actors to play the role, Eastwood said that there was just something about the men that prompted him to ask if they could play themselves.


Eastwood’s second bold move was to tell their story before what happened August 15, 2015, and what led up to their decision that day to run into harm’s way when others were running away from it.

Shaping their story is faith, starting with the day that they met at Freedom Christian School in Fair Oaks, California. What the men learned as boys from church, including what Sadler learned from his own father’s sermons, is portrayed as directly influencing their decisions on that fateful August day.

What’s more, their belief that it wasn’t an accident they were on the train but was in fulfillment of God’s purposes, is expressed in the film in both word and actions. As Skarlatos put it, “it was as if we were training our whole lives for that moment and didn’t know it.”

Part of the training was the games they played as children: “politically incorrect” toys that shot plastic pellets and turned the neighborhood, in the words of Skarlatos’ brother, “into a war zone.”

For Stone and Skarlatos, war ceased being a game when they joined the Air Force and the Oregon National Guard, respectively. What they learned in the military prepared them for the very special task that God had waiting for them.



And that’s ultimately what “The 15:17 to Paris” is about: three Christians whose faith allowed them to see that, to borrow from the book of Esther, they were placed on that train “for such a time as this.” In Stone’s words, they were “owning the life they had been given by God.”

To put it mildly, this is not the kind of message typical of a major Hollywood studio release. But I, for one, am grateful for it, and to the Warner Brothers studio and director Clint Eastwood for not burying the detail that most explains what happened on the 15:17 train to Paris.

Of course, one way for us to say thanks, and to encourage future films like it, is to buy a ticket and go see it.

You can view the trailer below:


Originally published at Breakpoint.org - reposted with permission.




Other News

August 21, 201911 Reasons Why Experts Believe That A U.S. Economic Crisis Is Imminent

Suddenly the mainstream media is filled with stories about when the next recession will begin and the effect that this may have on Preside...

August 21, 2019Will Israel Launch A Military Ground Operation In Gaza?

Some Israelis are calling for a military ground invasion into Gaza to damage, or even eradicate, Hamas. The question many are asking: Does...

August 21, 2019Why Endless Wars Can't Be Ended

Wars have shaped history, but the ways wars are fought evolve. Americans have grown accustomed to relatively short, high-intensity conflic...

August 21, 2019A Special Live Watch Gathering - Sheep Among Wolves

"What's taking place in Iran right now is spectacular." "It's the fastest growing church in the world that owns no buildings, has no 501c...

August 20, 2019The New Normal - Earthquakes In Diverse Places As Kansas & Oklahoma Shake

What are we supposed to think when rather large earthquakes start happening in places that aren't supposed to have large earthquakes? If ...

August 19, 2020What We Learn From Public Disavowals Of Christianity

The fact is, too many churches sell Christianity with feelings. We’re told how interested God is in our own happiness, our own meaning, an...

August 20, 2019Democrats Let Radicals Take The Steering Wheel

Democrats who care about the Jewish state should refocus their efforts on demonstrating that “The Squad” doesn’t speak for their party on ...

Get Breaking News