Answer: One --
Ephesians 4:5 shows that there is
only "one" baptism. "Which baptism is
this?," one might wonder. "Is it Holy Spirit baptism?" "How can we know
it is pertaining to water baptism?"
These are good questions.
Actually, there are only two cases of the
Holy Spirit miraculously indwelling others without the laying on of an
apostle's hands during the New Testament Age: the first would be that
which the apostles themselves received in Acts 2. The only other
incident is that which happened about 10 years later at the house of
Cornelius (Acts 10,11) as a special sign to the Jews that "...God has
granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life" (Acts
11:18). This outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Cornelius' household took
place around A.D. 43.
The writing of the Ephesian
letter, in which we read of there being
just "one baptism," was written about A.D. 61.
Now what is the "one baptism" we
see occuring after A.D. 61? In 1 Peter
3:21, which was written about A.D. 63, Peter states, "Baptism, which
corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the
body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience...." Without
question, the baptism that saves, which Peter is speaking of here, is
water baptism. This is the one baptism that is to continue as long as
Incidentally, no one was ever
commanded to be baptized in the Holy
Spirit. It was a promise given to the apostles, and I doubt those at
the house of Cornelius had any idea that the Lord would cause His Holy
Spirit to fall upon them as He did.
Water baptism, however, is
commanded; and it is part of the plan of
salvation for any penitent believer who wants to have sins washed away
and become a Christian (cf, Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3,4).