Franklin Graham celebrates 97th birthday of his dad, legendary evangelist Billy Graham

Billy Graham (right) and his son Franklin Graham (left) are still preaching God's love and message to the world.(

Legendary American evangelist Billy Graham has just turned 97, and his son Franklin, who followed his father's footsteps to share the Gospel to the world, is celebrating his father's legacy as a man of God.

"He came to faith in Christ just a week before his 16th birthday and went home and told his mother what he had done. He knew for sure that his heart had changed," Franklin writes on his Facebook page.

Since then, Billy has exhausted all his means to glorify God and bring people closer to Him. Now, Franklin says his father can no longer preach given his health condition, but "his mind is still clear and his desire is still there to tell the world about God's love for them and how God sent His Son, Jesus Christ from heaven to earth to take the sins of all mankind to the cross, die, and arise on the third day."

"My father's desire is that all men and women everywhere would come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and trust Him and follow Him as their Lord," adds Franklin.

Meanwhile, Christian author and former pastor for the Hickory Hammock Baptist Church in Florida Carl Gallups said Billy's statements written over 60 years ago about Christian persecution still rings true today.

"Since we have experienced little religious persecution in this country, it is likely that under pressure many would deny Christ," Billy wrote then. "Those who shout the loudest about their faith may surrender soonest. Many who boast of being courageous would be cowardly. Many who say, 'Though all others deny Christ, yet I will never deny Him,' would be the first to warm their hands at the campfires of the enemy."

Gallups said he agrees with Billy's beliefs "wholeheartedly," even as he expressed concern that Christian persecution is no longer "just a matter relegated to some far off land." Since Billy, who is "one of the strongest evangelical voices in the world," has already warned against Christian persecution, Gallups said it is about time the Christian community rally together and minister the world around them.

"The targeting of Christians will only grow if the Church and the American public don't wake up and begin to vehemently address the matter," Gallups told WND. "We live in tumultuous times all around the world and even in America. I think it's important that we network all of this together to take care of one another. And this is a biblical command and I think it serves to advancing the Kingdom of Jesus Christ."