Misconception #1 - Sacramental Baptismal believers believe that the outward actions of baptism save. Depending on how you define outward action this is true or false. It is false if you define the outward action as the action of the pastor dunking or pouring water on the person. It is true if you define the outward actions as God's actions upon us in Baptism. Luther writes in his Large Catechism,
Yes, it (Baptism) shall and must be something outward, so that it may be grasped by our senses and understood, and by them be brought into the heart. For indeed, the entire Gospel is outward, verbal preaching. In short, what God does and works in us He intends to work through such outward ordinances.As Luther plainly states the Gospel comes from outside of us in a manner in which we can grasp. Baptists, etc. grasp this truth but quickly abandon it for personal spiritual experience.
Now while I have refuted their misconception there is some truth to their misconceptions. The Roman Catholic Church has given them fuel for their fire with the doctrine of ex opere operato which states that the act of doing the sacramental signs is what makes a sacrament efficacious. This is a patently false teaching and we will address it with the next misconception.
Misconception #2 - Our second major misconception by the Bapticostals is that we believe there is something special about the water. This misconception is based on the Roman Catholic practice of Holy Water. The water is made holy through the blessing of a priest and then is used in various rituals of the church, usually for the consecration of various items. As a general rule Catholics do not believe that it is the fact that it is holy water that does the work of baptism rather the ritual as stated above. They do believe that the fact it is blessed does give it special properties hence its use in rituals such as exorcism. However, it is a simple fact that it is not the water that does the work in baptism. Rather it is the word and promise of God that does the work in Baptism. Once again we turn to Luther,
I encourage again that these two - the water and the Word - by no means be separated from each other and parted. For if the word is separated from it, the water is the same as the water that the servant cooks with. It may indeed be called a bathkeeper's baptism. But when the Word is added, as God has ordained, it is a Sacrament. It is called Christ's Baptism.
We can therefore conclude that with the exception of the Roman Catholics, those who believe in the sacrament of baptism do not believe that it is the action or the water which performs the saving actions of baptism.
Luther quotes are from Luther's Large Catechism as it is found in the Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions.