How People Received the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts

In the last year, I have been accused of believing in something that the attackers labeled as "open fellowship."  It means that I accept people as brothers and sisters in Christ who have not been baptized.  To that, I plead guilty.

One of the people who left our church when we were making changes left because I would not say that those who are not baptized are going to hell.  Again, I plead guilty.

These views stem from the same thought.  Here is my study of the arrival of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts.  Taking Acts at face value, rather than reading a presupposed theology into it, leads me to believing in "open fellowship" and accepting people who are not baptized as brothers and sisters.

The Spirit comes on people whenever God knows their heart is surrendered.  For many, this occurs at baptism.  For others, it can be upon hearing the Gospel, upon the laying on of hands, or even some other experience.  If there is one exception to baptism being the place to receive the Holy Spirit (and we have four in Acts alone), then that means that people can receive the Spirit, which is the seal of salvation (2 Cor 1:22, Eph 1:13, Romans 8:9-11,16-17), outside of baptism.   

Alexander Campbell said:
Should I find one [baptized as an infant] more intelligent in the Christian Scriptures, more spiritually-minded and more devoted to the Lord than…one immersed on a profession of the ancient faith, I could not hesitate a moment in giving the preference of my heart to him that loveth most.  Did I act otherwise, I would be a pure sectarian, a Pharisee among Christians.
 Barton Stone reiterated:
None of us are disposed to make our notions of baptism, however well founded, a bar of christian fellowship.  We acknowledge all to be brethren, who believe and obey the Saviour, and, who walking in the Spirit, bear his holy image; yet, in the meekness of Christ, we labor to convince such of their duty in submitting to every ordinance of the Lord.
But then there was Moses Lard, stirring the seeds of exclusivism early on in the Restoration Movement.

I mean to say distinctly and emphatically that Martin Luther, if not immersed, was not a Christian...If a man can be a Christian without immersion, let the fact be shown; or if a man can or may commune without being a Christian, let the fact be shown.  I deny both.  Immovably I stand here.  But I shall be told that this is Phariseeism, that is exclusivism.  Be it so;  if it be true...then am I so far the defendant of Phariseeism and exclusivism.
Where do we find ourselves?  On the side of Lard?  Or on the side of Campbell and Stone?  Really, it doesn't matter.  We need to find ourselves on the side of Jesus and the clear teachings of Scripture.

This discussion becomes fruitless when we begin to parse when the Holy Spirit comes and at what point salvation begins.  We need to focus on total surrender, which will include baptism, and living our lives completely for Jesus.  Minimal Christianity, a Christianity that is just focused on being saved, is no Christianity at all.  People will ask what they must do to be saved.  We will respond by telling them to become disciples, surrender their heart to Jesus, be baptized, and follow him all the days of their life.  If you want to be assured of your salvation, give your whole life to Jesus.  Baptism will not save you without that.

Here is a run through the relevant verses in Acts.

And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself" [Acts 2:38-39 (ESV)].

When we want to put the reception of the Holy Spirit into a little box, this is the verse we come to.  However, we will see that the rest of the book of Acts does not adhere to this box that we like to place receiving the Holy Spirit inside.

"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance" [Acts 2:4 (ESV)].
The Apostles received the Holy Spirit without baptism.
Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God." [Acts 8:17-21 (ESV)]
The Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of hands.

While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy  Spirit fell on all who heard the word (Acts 10:44).   As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning (Acts 11:15).
The Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles and Cornelius when they heard.
And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”...And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and  prophesying (Acts 19:2,6).
They received the Holy Spirit at the laying on of hands after baptism.  Paul expected them to have received it when they believed.

And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us (Acts 15:8).
The heart being surrendered to God is the key to receiving the Holy Spirit.  Nobody see someone's heart by asking them to show a baptism certificate or proof of membership in some church.  They show that they are a vessel of the Holy Spirit through their fruit.  We can accept anyone who professes Jesus as Lord and shows the fruit in their life as a brother or sister in Him.