Neil Armstrong went to be with the Lord yesterday. He was a great American. He was a devoted Christ follower.
Of course, you wouldn’t know about Armstrong’s Christian faith from the obituaries published by such bastions of liberal journalism as the New York Times and Washington Post. They didn’t consider it worthy of comment.
Nor would you know that Armstrong loved the Lord from the perfunctory tribute offered by President Obama, who mentions Christianity only when it serves his political purposes (like defending his support for homosexual marriage).
But Armstrong’s life story cannot be told without mentioning his walk with Christ.
Indeed, perhaps the most under-reported story about Armstrong concerned his visit to Israel following his historic trip to the moon, where he made his one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.
The American astronaut was taken on a tour of the old city of Jerusalem by Israeli archeologist Meir Ben-Dov. When they got to the Hulda Gate, which is at the top of the stairs leading to the TempleMount, Armstrong asked Ben-Dov whether Jesus had stepped anywhere around there.
“These are the steps that lead to the temple,” Ben-Dov told him, “so He must have walked here many times.”
Armstrong then asked Ben-Dov if those were the original stairs and Ben-Dov confirmed that they were indeed.
“So Jesus stepped right here,” Armstrong asked. “That’s right,” answered Ben-Dov.
To which Armstrong, the devout Christian, replied, “I have to tell you, I am more excited stepping on these stones than when I was stepping on the moon.”
The secular world remembers Armstrong as, variously, an aerospace engineer, a university professor, a Navy fighter pilot and, of course, as the first man in history to peer back at Earth from the surface of the moon.
But those who were closest to the famous astronaut – his widow, Carol, his two sons, Eric and Mark (from a previous marriage), his brother and sister, and other survivors – remember Neil Armstrong as a man of faith.