When one speaks of baptism as part of God's grace and saving process you get accused of believing in human efforts for your salvation. Others tie baptism into an "outward sign of an already experienced inward grace". Still others have no thoughts on baptism as nothing more than a religious symbol. They see baptism as an ordinance without real significance.
None of the above happens in the New Testament. First, you simply can't read the NT and think baptism was something trivial. If I start citing texts it would be like killing a corpse here. There are simply too many Scriptures about it and we are not here to argue. When we speak about baptism as expressed in the teachings of the Lord and His apostles, it's not something to roll our eyes at or think it is about 'church ordinances.' There is something many miss, even in the church of our Lord.
No one in the NT ever tries to prove anything about baptism! They simply teach about the risen Lord and simply call for it and those who are called obey! That's it! Those that responded knew what they were doing and believed upon baptism. To others it simply didn't matter. Did thousands want to be right with God in Christ? They were told to repent and be baptized into His name for the forgiveness of their sins and the Holy Spirit was theirs as a gift (Acts 2:37-38). They didn't argue anything. If those Jew's that day that listened to the message of Peter and those apostles wanted entrance into the Messiah they had killed 50 days earlier, this was their way out. No arguments! Paul, known as Saul at the time, was told to wait no longer but get himself baptized to wash away his sins calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16). There was no discussions about meanings in relationship to the Lord. Paul was a sincere, zealous server of God according to the Law (Phil. 3). Neither Peter nor Ananias nor Paul was attempting to prove anything about baptism and the people who obeyed didn't ask, "Do I have to be baptized?". All this debating stuff is a modern thing that developed out of the Catholic-Protestant controversy. IT ISN'T NEW TESTAMENT! All the reluctance to bring it up or teach it because it might offend or start a religious debate isn't New Testament because in those teachings the teachers blurt it out plain and simple.
Some simply want to debate. Some have said that the debate arose out of Paul's teaching about grace as opposed to works for righteousness but they seem to forget that the apostle who opposed the very form of works for righteousness was himself baptized to have his sins washed away as he took the name of Jesus Christ on him. They seem to forget that he wrote his most compelling inspired words about grace to the Ephesians even though he founded the church there by baptizing some believers a second time. Whatever else was being taught, they were 'immersed' into the name of Christ (Acts 19:1-7). We have got to stop the agruments and realize the Lord sent those apostles out with His gospel message and told them this is what He was looking for (Mark 16:15-16). No questions...simply faith!