Franklin Graham on Christian persecution: 'If we don't wake up, it will be too late'

Christians hold candles during a vigil to show solidarity with the nun who was raped in India. Persecution of Christians is on the rise around the worldReuters

Hundreds of Christians and victims of persecution from around the world will meet next month in Washington for a World Summit in defence of persecuted Christians, organised by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

The aim is to join hands with people of other churches and denominations of the Christian faith, 'to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ and to hear firsthand reports of the suffering taking place around the world,' says BGEA. 

The association argues it has never been more dangerous in modern times to be a Christian.

'We as Christians need to wake up. If we don't do it now, it will be too late,' warns Franklin Graham. 

'The violent persecution of Christians is on the rise. Christ followers in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere are being tortured, killed and forced from their homes – simply for following Jesus,'

In a graphic video chronicling the sufferings of more than 125,000 Christians forced from their homes, many systematically beheaded by Islamic State in Iraq, along with the relentless persecution of Christians in North Korea and elsewhere, Graham suggests responses to the rise of Christian persecution around the world.

'It motivates me to help my brothers and sisters around the world that are suffering incredible persecution,' says Graham. 'It's barbaric, it's evil and it's time for us to get up and do something.'  

From boyhood, when he travelled with his parents, he has made more than 60 visits to the Middle East. He has seen Christians attacked, slaughtered, day after day. 'Christians are under attack, not just in the Middle East but around the world,' he says. Iraq, where entire Christian villages have been wiped out, is a good example of what is happening to Christians. 'This is a part of the world where to be a Christian and take a stand for Christ can cost you your life.' 

On his Facebook page he writes: 'The world we live in is slipping farther and farther away from God. Jesus said, "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold" – and we're witnessing that all around us.

'Even people I talk to who aren't Christians recognise it, and say the changes they see in the world are not good and are very concerning.'

Just in the last week, he writes, China put its bombers on high alert. North Korea says they will continue to develop long range missiles and test nuclear weapons. Russian war planes were spotted off the coast of Alaska four times in just four days.

'Radical Islam is gaining ground throughout much of the world. Many of our politicians seem more concerned about getting their own way and advancing their own agendas than doing what is right for the people. We're becoming dysfunctional.

'God's Word speaks of the nations of the earth being in "anguish and perplexity". There's only One who has the answers, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. As individuals and as nations, we need to look to Him for wisdom and help. He is the Answer, for now and for all eternity.'