I have been studying with a co-worker of mine and apparently we are getting nowhere fast. Our discussions consist of mostly the importance of baptism. He knows the Gospel and believes that it is vital to believe in it for salvation's sake, but he doesn't believe that baptism is an essential part, only that it is an outward obedience to an inward faith. He claims that Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, Matthew 28:19, and a few other places where it mentions being baptized refer to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and that the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11) is different then water baptism. That in those verses, it doesn't mean literal water baptism but spiritual baptism. Stating that John's baptism was the water baptism, and the baptism spoken of in Acts 2:38 and etc.. where spiritual baptisms.
Please help. Thank you.
If someone is determined not to believe, even the best arguments are not going to persuade them. Just look at Jesus and Paul in their discussions with the Jews.
But for the argument of baptisms, notice that the two times (and there are only two) that the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred, it was by the Spirit's choice and not man. People cannot choose to be baptized by the Spirit, nor can they be commanded to be baptize by the Spirit -- men cannot control God. Therefore, the claim that Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; and Matthew 28:19 are baptism by the Holy Spirit is false.