President Bill Armstrong
By Jeff Hunt, Director of the Centennial Institute
Working with President Armstrong has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. In addition to being an effective leader, President Armstrong was also a man of great kindness who was deeply committed to his family. His fearless leadership in the areas of faith, family, politics, business, and education are an inspiration. He embodied the meaning of “servant leader” and the impact of his legacy will live on for generations.
The modern conservative movement owes its roots to Bill Armstrong. He understood that faith, family, and freedom were the foundation for a strong and thriving society. The world has lost a great advocate for the vibrant, engaging biblical worldview. Bill Armstrong will take his rightful place in history along with William Wilberforce, Patrick Henry, Florence Nightingale, Susan B Anthony, Frederick Douglass, Chuck Colson and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I am confident that the words spoken to him upon his entrance into his Father’s arms were “well done, good and faithful servant.”
Bill and I would often discuss the work of Colorado Christian University, the Centennial Institute and our role in today’s world. He remarked that we live in a time when many Christian colleges are ‘Christian in name-only’. They either abandoned their faith entirely or are too scared/bullied into boldly proclaiming Jesus. The need for powerful, bold Christian institutions is greater now than ever before, he would say.
During his final speech at his final Western Conservative Summit he said, “This is a time when we need our most outstanding men and women to be filled with dedication and energy to lead our country in a more wholesome, more thoughtful, more Godly direction and restore not only the Christian principles of our nation, but the founding political and Constitutional principles of the United States of America. This is a time to be strong and very courageous, to be bold, to be creative, to be brilliant, to be the salt of the earth.”
That call to be bold was ringing in my ears throughout this past Western Conservative Summit. I went up to each speaker and encouraged each one, “Be bold! Don’t hold back. Go all out. It’s what Bill Armstrong would want.”
For those of us who remain here, our job is to ask, why was Bill Armstrong so successful and how do we honor him? He was successful because of his faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. This was the foundation that drove every one of his actions. Similarly, we need to trust in the Lord and boldly go forth with the Lord’s calling on our lives. Bill Armstrong would often say, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” in public gatherings. This was not a silly chant, but a call to everyone to focus on the work of God in our world. Furthermore, it was an encouragement that if God is calling us to action, we should trust God entirely and act boldly, with confidence.
That is how we honor Bill Armstrong and continue his successful legacy: we focus on Jesus, trust in God’s calling upon our lives, and act boldly.
One of my favorite movie quotes is at the end of Gladiator. The leader of the movement has passed on and his friend looks out on the horizon with a smile on his face and says, “I will see you again… but not yet… not yet…” I will see you again, Mr. President. But until then, we have the Lord’s work to carry on. Something tells me that’s exactly what Bill Armstrong wants.