Christians in the US need to "prepare ourselves" for increasing "hostility", says formerly imprisoned pastor Andrew Brunson.
Brunson, who spent two years behind bars in Turkey on espionage charges, said during a virtual event that Christians in the US were "not ready" for the "pressure" he believes is coming.
"The pressures that we're seeing in our country now are going to increase, and one of these pressures is going to be hostility toward people who embrace Jesus Christ and His teaching, who are not ashamed to stand for Him," he said.
Brunson served as a missionary in Turkey for over 20 years before being imprisoned in 2016. He was freed two years later after the US imposed sanctions and tariffs on the country and some of its officials.
After his release, he returned to the US and says that since that time he's felt a new "urgency" for his own country.
He said the sense of urgency was not brought on by the election but his concerns over where the country is headed regardless of who is in the White House.
He said that even a Trump victory would only "delay persecution at a government level" but would "not keep us from the hostility that's rising in our society toward followers of Jesus".
He added that the hostility will be more than simple disagreement with Christian beliefs.
"And I want to mention here that Jesus was the most loving, kind person in history, and yet He was called evil and people are not going to just disagree with us," he said.
"They will say that we are evil and they will justify everything they do to us because they will paint us as evil people. What is heavy on my heart is that we need to prepare ourselves to prepare our own hearts."