I have tried to teach what the Bible teaches about water baptism in a clear and direct way. That has to be the best approach. I have previously listed the purposes of water baptism. I have discussed it with others who have studied in Bible seminaries and institutions of learning. I have found some interesting points of view. They read what the Bible teaches, but many immediately just turn and follow a doctrinal book on the subject. These books are not inspired by the Holy Spirit. You may say they are written by men you trust on a myriad of issues. But, there is no direct inspiration. I ask again, “Should we not trust the Bible first and give it primacy?” When did we become so entitled as to have our own opinions about salvation?
A Pentecostal group recently posted what they contended was a healing which took place during a water baptism. They highlighted verses like Acts 22:15 and 1 Peter 3:20 on the big screen at the church above the baptistry. These verses indicate that there is a washing, a cleansing, that takes place during baptism. But when I questioned the denomination’s poster about this church news video and the implicit meanings, all he would say was that baptism is just an act of obedience. Basically, they will only call it an ordinance and nothing more. Did they read these 2 verses and immediately have a mental block? We have turned; everyone to his own way. I invite you to read the verses for yourself.
I once heard a preacher claim that Paul (a.k.a. Saul) was baptized right there as he stood up—by the Holy Spirit—not in water (Acts 22:16). I don’t see many examples of Holy Spirit baptism being described as a washing agent in the NT (re wash away your sins). There have been arguments that Titus 3:5 is an example. But I interpret, as do many scholars, that water baptism is the place/time that the Spirit comes to indwell and renew (also in Acts 2:38). Most respected Bible students will tell you that when the phrase “baptized into Christ” is used in the NT, it is referring to water baptism. Spirit baptism has a different purpose.
What is the purpose of baptism in the Holy Spirit? It is for empowerment—for people who are already Christians. The disciples in the early part of the Book of Acts did not seek the baptism in the Holy Spirit for salvation. They had been with Jesus. Of course, they were already saved. Spirit baptism is for empowerment. See Acts 1:8. For a good explanation, I recommend a link from John Piper.