This Week in AG History —August 24, 1946
By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 26 August 2021
Stanley Howard Frodsham (1882-1969) was a writer, editor, and teacher during the formative years of the Pentecostal movement and the Assemblies of God. As editor of the Pentecostal Evangel for nearly 30 years, Frodsham stands as one of the most influential figures of 20th-century Pentecostalism.
Born to a Congregational family in England, Frodsham studied classical literature, French, Latin, and mathematics. As a young man, he came to personal faith in Christ through reading the biography of Hudson Taylor, founder of China Inland Mission. He immediately quit swearing, gave up his pack-a-day cigarette habit, and began attending F.B. Meyer’s weekly training classes at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in London.
While traveling with his brother, Arthur, in Canada in 1906 and 1907, Frodsham heard about a spiritual revival taking place and the restoration of the gifts of the Spirit as recorded in the New Testament Church. Upon his return to England, he sought this deeper work in his own life and received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues on Oct. 13, 1908, in the Sunderland vicarage of Anglican minister, A. A. Boddy, one of the founders of British Pentecostalism.
In 1909, Frodsham commenced publishing the first Pentecostal paper in England, Victory, and began pastoring a small congregation in Bournemouth. In the same year, he and Alice Rowlands were married by their ministerial colleague and friend, Smith Wigglesworth. While continuing to publish Victory, the Frodsham’s traveled to the United States to attend meetings with Maria Woodworth-Etter in Dallas, Texas. They soon ventured to California where Wigglesworth joined them in ministry activities along the West Coast.
In 1916, Frodsham received a letter from J. W. Welch, general chairman (now called general superintendent) of the Assemblies of God (AG). Welch thanked him for articles he submitted to The Pentecostal Evangel, the weekly publication of the AG and stated they were “praying for God’s man” to be the editor of their periodical. “Are you that man?” Welch asked Frodsham. Included with the letter was an invitation to attend the upcoming 1916 General Council in St. Louis.
Frodsham came as a stranger to the Assemblies of God but, because of his writings, he was not unknown. During these meetings, he was elected the new general secretary and was appointed to serve on a committee with D.W. Kerr, and others, to draft a Statement of Fundamental Truths for the Movement. Frodsham served as general secretary from 1916 to 1919 and as assistant editor of the Evangel until 1921, when he became the editor-in-chief of not only the Evangel, but every other AG publication, including Sunday School materials. He served as the Evangel editor for 27 years, providing a stabilizing force in the young Movement.
Frodsham’s contacts with Pentecostal leaders in Europe and Canada gave the Evangel a broader scope than many of the Pentecostal publications of the time and opened it to an audience beyond the Assemblies of God. Frodsham introduced his audience to the writings of his British colleagues such as George Jeffreys, Smith Wigglesworth, A. A. Boddy, and Donald Gee, giving a greater unity between the Assemblies of God in the United States and in Great Britain. Following the lead of the former editor, J. Roswell Flower, Frodsham was intentional in using the Evangel to promote enthusiasm for the missionary work of the Movement. He also saw the need of using the pages of the Evangel to provide for ministers who were unable to attend the Bible institutes, using it for ministerial instruction, sermon ideas, and Sunday School lessons.
Earlier, E.N. Bell, the first general chairman of the AG, was given the assignment to write a book telling the story of the worldwide Pentecostal movement. Bell began to collect letters and written accounts from first-hand observers. When he died unexpectantly in 1923, the task fell to Frodsham. With Signs Following was published in 1926, updated in 1928, and fully revised in 1941. Frodsham’s work became the standard textbook on Pentecostal history for many years.
In the Aug. 24, 1946, Pentecostal Evangel, Frodsham titled his editorial “By My Spirit.” At a time when the Assemblies of God was gaining favor in the church world and influence with the National Association of Evangelicals, there was concern that the Assemblies of God was losing some of its spiritual fervor, Frodsham reminded the Movement that “many think they can be wholly independent of the Holy Spirit. They say, ‘Are we not graduates of such and such a school, college, or university? Have we not back of us all the experience and traditions of the great denominations? Have we not libraries filled with the works of the greatest thinkers of the centuries? Have we not learned to be experts in our own particular field of service?’” He continued, “Constant consciousness of poverty and need will provoke us to constant asking. The disciples did not strut around after the day of Pentecost and say, ‘Look what we have!’ Knowing there was more of the Spirit from the same blessed Source, they cried to God for yet more of what they knew would be theirs by the further coming of the Holy Spirit in power.”
Before his death in 1969, Frodsham published 15 books, including the biography of his friend, Smith Wigglesworth, and he wrote nearly 1,000 articles for the Pentecostal Evangel. In 1970, the organ in the Central Bible College (Springfield, Missouri) chapel was dedicated in his honor with the simple words, “He inspired others to worship.”
Read Stanley Frodsham’s article, “By My Spirit” on page 4 of the Aug. 24, 1946, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
• “God’s Work Among the Lisu” by Lavada Morrison
• “The Cross and Discipline” by L.E. Maxwell
• “Victory and Faith” by Josephine Turnbull
And many more!
Click here to read this issue now.
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.
Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.
Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
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