Have you any suggestions on working with the "Oneness" Pentecostal group?
We should be careful to distinguish the "Oneness" people from the trinitarian Pentecostal groups, as the following citation will show:
"In 1914, the same year that the Assemblies of God was organized, a schism developed in the movement involving belief in the Trinity. Some of the ministers withdrew from the newly organized Assemblies of God to form the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. The schism involved the exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ as both Father and Holy Ghost, and, therefore, was in essence Unitarian. These people became known as the 'One Name' people, and they taught baptism in the name of Jesus only (Acts 2:38), repudiating the baptismal form of Matthew 28:19.
"The 'One Name' people broke up into several groups which are not recognized by the trinitarians of the Pentecostal movement. These groups became known as the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ, the Pentecostal Church, Inc., and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. However, the first two of these groups later combined under the name United Pentecostal Church, Inc."—J. ROSWELL FLOWER, General Secretary, General Council, Assemblies of God. (Quoted in The Ministry, October, 1947.)
This group is also variously known as "New Issue," "Jesus Only," "Pentecostal Oneness," and "Pentecostal Wonders;" Besides the aforementioned organized groups, there are also some unorganized groups holding to more or less the same teachings.
The "Oneness" believers are generally inclined to more fanaticism and disorder in the conduct of their services than other Pentecostalists, who sometimes speak of them as being under demon influence. Their chief point of difference is on the doctrine of God. They believe there is only one person in the Godhead, and that person is Jesus, who is also the Father and the Holy Ghost. This teaching is based on such passages as John 10:30 ("I and My Father are one") and John 14:7-ii.
There are some differences even among various "Oneness" groups. All unite in baptizing by immersion "in the name of Jesus," "in the name of Jesus only," "in the name of the Lord Jesus," or "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." They say that since Jesus is the Father and the Holy Ghost as well as the Son, this formula fulfills Matthew 28:19. Proof texts they use are Acts 2 :38 ; 8:16; 10 :48 ; 22:16. The majority of them regard this baptism as essential to salvation.
All of them believe in baptism in the Holy Spirit accompanied by speaking in other tongues. Some regard this as an accompaniment of conversion, and others regard it as an experience subsequent to conversion. Those who teach it as an accompaniment of conversion expect the convert to receive the experience and speak in other tongues upon emergence from the baptismal waters. This teaching is based on Acts 2:38, correlating Acts 9 :17 and Acts 22:16, and thus the reception of the Holy Spirit is made an accompaniment of baptism.
When we deal with these sincere but misguided people, it would be well at the beginning to use the same tactics as with other Pentecostalists, and avoid as much as possible any reference to speaking in tongues and other distinctive features of their teaching: Teach them clearly and strongly the claims of God's laws and the perpetuity of the Sabbath, until they see the truth of it.
Inasmuch as they are secret rapturists, teach them, next, concerning the manner of Christ's return, and the millennium. When you have shaken their foundations loose on these points, they will become more receptive to teaching on their other doctrines, because they will begin to wonder whether, since they are wrong on these, it is barely possible that they are wrong on some other things. The following material may be used to enlighten them on the Godhead:
I. The three persons of the Godhead manifested separately. Matt. 3 :16. Jesus, the Son on earth, the Holy Spirit manifested as a dove; and the Father speaking from heaven. Also Matt. 17:5; John 12:27, 28; 14:26. Call attention to the three in this last citation.
2. Jesus prayed to the Father. John 12:27, 28; 11:41, 42; 14:16. (Note that this is another Comforter, not the same one.) John 17:1, 5, II, 25; Luke 23:34. Was He praying to Himself?
3. Jesus said that the Father was greater than He. John 14:28. How could He be greater than Himself?
4. Jesus was sent by the Father, came from the Father, and returned to the Father. John 6:38, 39; 8:18, 42; 9:4;12:49;16:28; 20:17. Did He send Himself, come forth from Himself, and return to Himself?
5. His cry on the cross. Matt. 27 :46. Had He forsaken Himself?
Many other similar points may be found by a careful study of the Gospels, especially of the Gospel of John.
As to their use of the baptismal formula, it may be shown that Matthew 28:19 is a direct command of Jesus concerning the manner in which we should baptize. When we use this formula we are including the name of the Son, which is the real intent of the apostolic injunctions in such passages as Acts 2:38.
Show them from Acts 5:32 the necessity of obedience to God's law in order to receive the Holy Spirit. Place on them the burden of proof that the speaking in tongues invariably accompanies the reception of the Holy Spirit. They will be unable to bring clear Scriptural proof for this. Show how the conduct of their services directly violates the injunctions of i Corinthians 14 for the use of the gift of tongues.
More than anything else, it will require much patience and much prayer to enlighten them.