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Seeking and finding the will of God

The election of a young almost unknown Englishman as general secretary of the Assemblies of God and assistant editor (later, editor) of the Pentecostal Evangel at the October 1916 General Council was as much a surprise to him as it was to many of the delegates. “My wife and I were strangers to almost everyone at the Council,” Stanley H. Frodsham wrote a few days later. But as an experienced editor of an English Pentecostal paper, he was convinced that he was in the will of the Lord. “I believe it is the wish of my precious Lord; and I have one desire in life, and that is to please Him.”

Nobody in that 4th General Council and those who read the reports two weeks later would know that the delegates had elected an institution that day. Except for brief stays with two other publications, Frodsham would remain with the General Council through the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression and World War II (from 1916 to 1949). Because of his insightful editorials, articles and 15 published books — including Smith Wigglesworth: Apostle of Faith and With Signs Following — he had one of the most recognizable names in the Pentecostal movement during that period.

In October 1916, 88 years ago this month, events were leading up to the election that would change Frodsham’s life and the Assemblies of God.

A few weeks before the Council opened in St. Louis, General Chairman John W. Welch, wrote to Frodsham in California. He needed an editor for the Evangel, Welch told Frodsham. Although they had never met, Welch asked the stunned Frodsham, “Are you that man?”

But Frodsham could see the Holy Spirit at work. His wife had prophesied when they first saw the Evangel that someday “the Lord [shall] connect us with its publication.”

Welch kept his mind on Frodsham and published an article Frodsham had submitted. At the 1916 Council, Welch spoke with “Mother” Mary Arthur, a Galena, Kan., woman in whom he had great confidence. He asked if she had been praying that God would send an editor for the Evangel. “Yes,” she replied, “and every time I pray, the Lord shows me the man who wrote this article is the one He has chosen.” That was enough for Welch, for Mother Arthur was pointing to the article Stanley Frodsham had written.

So it was that John W. Welch and Mother Arthur — and later the entire Assemblies of God — knew that the Holy Spirit was opening doors and leading the way. And they could rejoice with Frodsham about the position as editor of the Evangel when he wrote, “I believe it is the wish of my precious Lord; and I have one desire in life, and that is to please Him.”

Many of Stanley H. Frodsham’s contemporaries believed that few could have been any more faithful and pleasing to the Lord than this totally committed and soft-spoken man from Bournemouth, England.

— Wayne Warner, director, Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

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