When President Eisenhower strode from the gold-trimmed grand ballroom of Washington’s Mayflower Hotel one morning last month, it marked a significant exit.

Eisenhower had just witnessed his third and last “Presidential Prayer Breakfast” as chief executive. As he left, more than 500 government officials and other dignitaries stood, their eyes fixed upon the man under whom the prayer breakfast had come to represent a red-letter day on the evangelical calendar.

The event was significant, too, because it highlighted a four-day, 25th anniversary conference of International Christian Leadership, which has attained interdenominational, world-wide prestige with a “soft-sell” witness. ICL’s evangelical hue reflected clearly, as it usually does despite its lack of an itemized “doctrinal statement” common to biblically-oriented organizations.ICL prefers to be known as “an informal association of concerned laymen united to foster faith, freedom and Christian leadership through regenerated men who in daily life will affirm their faith and assert their position as Christians, believing that ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself … and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.’ ”

The hour-long breakfast program included:

—An invocation by Dr. Harold J. Ockenga, pastor of Park Street (Congregational) Church in Boston.

—A moving rendition of “How Great Thou Art” by Jerome Hines, Metropolitan Opera basso who prefaced his solo with remarks affirming a personal faith in Christ (“I never sing unless they let me testify, too”).

—A stirring testimony by Los Angeles typographer William C. Jones, who has been host for the last four such breakfasts.

—Scripture reading by Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Whittaker (Old Testament) ...

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