An Imitator of Christ: An Evangelical Protestant Reflects on Francis’ US Visit

An Imitator of Christ: An Evangelical Protestant Reflects on Francis’ US Visit September 28, 2015

By Dr. Mark Labberton

Pope Francis inspires me to follow Jesus.  That’s it. Mark Labberton Thumbnail

I follow what the Pope says and I am grateful for the sweep of his vision, the humility of his spirit, and the depth of his hope. I am moved by his simple gestures of compassion, and the primacy of the person in each embrace.  His warm, unself-conscious purposefulness embodies the charisma of love, a love that he believes is fully and generously and indiscriminately poured out through Jesus Christ for all.

For me, evangelical Protestant that I am, the sum of all this in Pope Francis has the attractive aroma of our Lord.  This is the life of an ordinary disciple, the compelling and transformative freedom of living and loving as a follower of Jesus.  For this, the world is still hungry.

“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ,” wrote St. Paul.  Francis lives and does the same.


Dr. Mark Labberton is Professor of Preaching and President of Fuller Theological Seminary. After earning his PhD in Hermeneutics from the University of Cambridge, he spent 16 years as senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, California. He returned to Fuller as a faculty member in 2009 and was named president in 2013.

Follow Mark on Twitter at @mlabberton.

Follow Fuller Seminary on Twitter at @fullerseminary.


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