Senior Pastor Eric F. Foster
Pastor Eric Foster resides in Canton, Ohio with his wife Lamonica and their three children. He is an ordained minister of the United Pentecostal Church International and currently serves the Ohio District of the UPCI as the Section 2 Presbyter. In addition to serving the Ohio District as the Section 2 Presbyter he also served as the Section 2 Youth Leader. Pastor Foster is as a graduate of Purpose Institute of which he also serves as an Executive Board member, campus dean, and an instructor. He has served The Apostolics of Canton in various capacities throughout the years including Youth Pastor and Co-Pastor before becoming its lead pastor in February 2009.
Bishop F. Joe & Rose Marie Ellis
Together with his wife Rose and three young children (Angela, Joe, and Tom), they founded The Apostolics of Canton in July of 1980. Even though Joe and Rose have ministered extensively in many nations throughout the world, they still actively serve AOC and its network congregations as their Bishop and Founding First Lady. With their children now grown and married, they have blessed our Bishop and his wife with eleven grandchildren. As spiritual parents, they both have many sons and daughters in the gospel serving in ministry.
Joe and Rose both graduated from Stow High School in 1970 and have lived in Northeast Ohio their entire life. Immediately upon graduating from High School in 1970, Joe enlisted and served in the Ohio National Guard from 1970 - 1976. In 1977, he answered his calling into the ministry and he soon earned his AA of Theology from Indiana Bible College. In 1994, he founded Purpose Institute, a UPCI endorsed Ministry Training Institute that currently has over 2300 students in 80 campuses located throughout North America, as well as many other nations. Bishop Ellis is the President and CEO. (www.purposeinstitute.com)
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Brief History of The Apostolics of Canton
Founding Pastor F. Joe Ellis, along with his wife Rose and their three young children (Angela, Joe, and Tom), held their inaugural service on Sunday July 13, 1980. They started in a small building located at 2000 Navarre Road on the southwest side of the city.
In October of 1993, God gave the church a miracle! The church was given ownership of a 17,200 square foot building (appraised at that time for $720,000) in a debt free, even exchange for their 5,500 square foot building (appraised at $48,000)!
In February of 1994 Canton College of Ministries (now Purpose Institute) was born. The school’s purpose was to provide leadership training and ministry development for those unable to attend Bible College in a traditional setting. Like the church, the school had a very small and modest beginning. It’s growth has been exponential and its reach has been global. To God be the Glory!
In 1997, to facilitate the world-training vision of the church along with the expansion of Purpose Institute, Shaun M. Eller, who was currently serving as the youth pastor, was promoted to Lead Pastor and Pastor Ellis was promoted to the office of Bishop. This transition enabled Bishop Ellis to travel globally as needed without jeopardizing the spiritual health and care of its members. Pastor Eller, along with his wife Angela (one of the five charter members) pastored the church for twelve years. Feeling that his time as Pastor was coming to a close, and that God was redirecting his ministry, Pastor Eller resigned in February 2009.
Pastor Eric Foster, who was already serving as Co-Pastor with Pastor Eller, was promoted to Senior Pastor. Pastor Foster (a member since 1995) along with his wife Lamonica (a member since 1983) has served the church in many different capacities through the years. They wear the shepherd’s mantel of AOC with integrity and distinction and are greatly loved by the people.
In keeping with its vision and mission, two daughter congregations have been planted in Watauga, Texas and Dover, Ohio and are pastored by couples who were trained and sent out from AOC. In addition AOC has also come along side several pastors and congregations (both stateside and abroad), providing much needed help, individuals, finance, and oversight. The overarching vision and spiritual DNA of AOC remains global in scope, and only God can measure the far-reaching impact of the ministry of The Apostolics of Canton.
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What We Believe
The Bible is the inspired Word of God, giving a true history of the creation of heaven, earth, and humanity and containing a correct prophecy of the ages to come regarding heaven, earth, and the destiny of humanity. Moreover, there is no salvation outside of what is taught in its pages.
There is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4). He is the creator of heaven and earth, and of all living beings. He has revealed Himself to humanity as the Father (Creator), in the son (Savior), and as the Holy Ghost (indwelling Spirit).
God is a Spirit (John 4:24). He is the Eternal One, the Creator of all things, and the Father of all humanity by creation.
He is the First and the Last, and beside Him there is no God (Isaiah 44:6).
There was no God formed before Him; neither shall be there any after Him (Isaiah 43:10).
Jesus is the Son of God according to the flesh (Romans 1:3) and the very God Himself according to the Spirit (Matthew 1:23). Jesus is the Christ (Matthew 16:16); the creator of all things (Colossians 1:16-17); God with us (Matthew 1:23); God made flesh (John 1:1-14); God manifested in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16);He which was, which is, and which is to come, the Almighty (Revelation 1:8);the mighty God, everlasting Father, and Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Jesus Himself testified of His identity as God when He said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:7-11) and “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).
It took shedding of blood for the remission of the sins of the world (Hebrews 9:22), but God the Father was a Spirit and had no blood to shed. Thus He prepared a body of flesh and blood (Hebrews 10:5)and came to earth as a man in order to save us, for in Isaiah 43:11 He said, “Beside me there is no Saviour.” When He came in flesh the angels sang, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
The Holy Ghost is not a third person in the Godhead, but rather the Spirit of God (the Creator), the Spirit of the resurrected Christ. The Holy Ghost comes to dwell in the hearts and lives of everyone who believes and obeys the gospel, as the comforter, Sustainer, and keeper (John 14:16-26; Romans 8:9-11).
Sin is the transgression of the law, or commandments of God (I John 3:4). The guilt of sin has fallen upon all humanity from Adam until now (Romans 3:23). The wages of sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:14) to all those who refuse to accept salvation as set forth in the Word of God.
Salvation consists of deliverance from all sin and unrighteousness through the blood of Jesus Christ. The New Testament experience of salvation consists of repentance from sin, water baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, after which the Christian is to live a godly life (Acts 2:36-41).
Water baptism is an essential part of New Testament salvation and not merely a symbolic ritual. It is part of entering into the kingdom of God (God’s church, the bride of Christ), and therefore, it is not merely a part of local church membership. (See John 3:5; Galatians 3:27).
Mode of Baptism
Water baptism is to be administered only by immersion. Paul said, “We are buried with him [Jesus Christ] by baptism (Romans 6:4; see Colossians 2:12), Jesus came up “out of the water” (Mark 1:10), and Philip and the eunuch went down “into the water” and came up “out of the water” (Acts 8:38-39).
Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection are applied to our lives when we experience New Testament salvation: “Repent [death to sin], and be baptized [burial] every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost [resurrection].” (See Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-7; 8:2).
Sprinkling, pouring, or infant baptism of any kind cannot be substantiated by the Word of God, but are only human traditions.
Formula for Baptism
The name in which baptism is administered is vitally important, and this name is Jesus.
Jesus’ last command to His disciples was, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). We should notice that He said name (singular) not names. As previously explained, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not names of separate persons, but titles of positions held by God. An angelic announcement revealed God’s saving name in the New Testament: “She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
The apostles understood that Jesus was the name to use at baptism, and from the day that the church of God was established (the Day of Pentecost) until the end of their ministry, they baptized all nations (Jews–Acts 8:16; Gentiles–Acts 19:5) in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In fact, Jesus is the only name given for our salvation. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Baptism of the Holy Ghost
The baptism of the Holy Ghost is the birth of the Spirit (John 3:5). This spiritual baptism is necessary to put someone into the kingdom of God (God’s church, the bride of Christ) and is evidenced by speaking in other tongues (other languages) as the Spirit of God give utterance.
It was prophesied by Joel (Joel 2:28-29) and Isaiah (Isaiah 28:11), foretold by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11), purchased by the blood of Jesus, and promised by Him to His disciples (John 14:26; 15:16). The Holy Ghost was first poured out on the Day of Pentecost upon the Jews (Acts 2:1-4), then upon the Samaritans (Acts 8:17), and later upon the Gentiles (Acts 10:44-46; 19:6). “The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39).
1. Speaking in other tongues as the Spirit of God gives utterance is the manifestation God has given as the definite, indisputable, supernatural witness or sign of the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6).
It was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah as the rest and the refreshing (Isaiah 28:11-12), foretold by Jesus as a sign that would follow believers of the gospel (Mark 16:17), and experienced by Jews and Gentiles alike.
2. The gift of “divers kinds of tongues,” mentioned by Paul in I Corinthians 12:1-12 and concerning which he gave regulations in I Corinthians 14:1-40, is given by both for self-edification (I Corinthians 14:4) and for the edification of the church (I Corinthians 14:27-28).
In church meetings the gift of tongues is used to give a public message, and it is to be interpreted. Since this gift can be misused in public, it needs proper regulation (I Corinthians 14:23-28). Not all believers exercise the gift of tongues, which is different in function from tongues given by God as the initial witness of the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Paul said, “Forbid not to speak with tongues” (I Corinthians 14:39) and “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all” (I Corinthians 14:8). Who dares to teach or preach to the contrary?
Speaking in tongues means speaking miraculously in a language unknown to the speaker, as the Spirit gives utterance. Tongues can be classified in two ways, according to function: (1)speaking in other tongues as the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and (2)the gift of tongues as mentioned in I Corinthians.
After we are saved from sin, we are commanded, “Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).
We are commanded to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:12) and warned that without holiness no one shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
We must present ourselves as holy unto God (Romans 12:1), cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit (II Corinthians 7:1), and separate ourselves from all worldliness (James 4:4).
If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (I Peter 4:18).
No one can live a holy life by his own power, but only through the Holy Spirit. “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8).
God has made Himself known through the ages by miraculous healings and has made special provisions in the age of grace to heal all who will come to Him in faith and obedience. Divine healing was purchased for us by the blood of Jesus Christ, especially by His stripes (Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 8:16-17; I Peter 2:24).
Jesus went everywhere healing those who were sick (Matthew 4:23-24), and He commanded His disciples to do the same (Matthew 10:8). He said concerning those who believe the gospel, “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18). Mighty healings and miracles followed the disciples wherever the gospel was preached.
There is no sickness or disease too hard for God. Any of us, our children, or our friends can be healed by the power of God.
“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him , anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord shall raise him up: and if he have committed sins they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed” (James 5:14-16).
Second Coming of Christ
Jesus Christ is coming back to earth in bodily form, just as He went away (Acts 1:11). He will catch away a holy people (His bride, His church) who have accepted redemption through His blood, by birth of water and of the Spirit, and who are found faithful when He comes.
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
“One shall be taken and the other left” (Luke 17:36). Will we be ready?
The signs of His coming are everywhere. The days of peril are here indeed, with forms of godliness void of the power of God; society and politics corrupted; and people’s hearts filled with pride, blasphemies, unholiness, love of evil, and love of pleasures (II Timothy 3:1-13). These things, together with multitudes running to and fro, the increase of knowledge (Daniel 12:4), the persecution of the Jews and their return to Palestine (Luke 21:24), and scores of other things are starting signs that Jesus’ coming is drawing near.
Wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, storms, floods, distress of nations, perplexity, and people’s hearts failing them for fear are sounding the solemn alarm that Jesus’ coming is at hand (Matthew 24:6; Luke 21:25-28).
“Prepare to meet thy God” (Amos 4:12).
There will be a resurrection of all the dead, both just and unjust.
“Marvel not this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28-29).
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God . . . and the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them” (Revelation 20:12-13)> (See also Daniel 12:2; I Corinthians 15:13-23.)
“It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). For this reason there will be a resurrection for everyone. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Corinthians 5:10).
The eternal destiny of every soul shall be determined by a just God who knows the secrets of everyone’s heart. “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. . . .Then shall he also say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. . . . And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:32-34, 41, 46).
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