By Samuel Smith , CP Reporter
May 11, 2017 | 8:02 AM
WASHINGTON — Leading evangelist Franklin Graham addressed persecuted Christians from over 130 countries gathered this week for the first-ever World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians and explained the “real reason” why so many people throughout the world are being killed, tortured and imprisoned for their faith in Christ.
Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, gave the keynote address at the BGEA-hosted summit’s opening session Wednesday night at the Mayflower Hotel and welcomed Christians of all denominational and cultural stripes who traveled from all over the world to the summit on behalf of his father, the 98-year-old Billy Graham.
“This conference is not an ecumenical effort to unite Christians through theology or organizational means. This summit intentionally includes people from many denominations and traditions,” the 64-year-old Graham said. “As it has been said, the persecution of one Christian, affects us all.”
“I would like to remind all of us that no one has suffered more than our Lord Jesus Christ,” Graham added. “May the story of the Lord Jesus Christ and His suffering for us be the focus of the primary message of this conference.”
As the the conference aims to allow persecuted Christians from every corner of the globe share their stories of persecution and tribulations, Graham took time from his speech to highlight for an ovation the family members of some of the 20 Coptic Christians beheaded by the Islamic State on a beach in Libya in February 2015. The publicized footage of their beheadings helped millions realize the horror that many of their brothers and sisters are facing around the world at the hands of anti-Christian extremists.
“Tragically, this is not an isolated incident,” Graham asserted. “Today, our Christian brothers and sisters in many countries are facing persecution and martyrdom on an unprecedented scale. In fact, throughout the world the number of Christians facing hostility, persecution and even death is greater than any other time in history.”
Graham stressed that “no part of the Christian family is exempt” from persecution, no matter if they are Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox. He also stressed that “no part of the world is exempt.”