Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, delivers a keynote address during the opening session of the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. on May 10, 2017.
BY SAMUEL SMITH , CP REPORTER
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.
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