Baptism, Confirmation, Communion

In his book, “A History of Confirmation in the Lutheran Church”, Arthur Repp suggests that pastors that see confirmation as tied to Baptism usually favor an earlier age for confirmation, and those who see it tied to Communion usually favor a later age.  I suppose this is generally true, but it neglects some important points.

First, in either case, he is speaking of confirmation as the admission to the Sacrament of the Altar.  So, while a person who favors an earlier age may think in terms of Baptism, confirmation is still tied to First Communion.  No one is suggesting that we confirm early, but commune late.  Indeed, the new Agenda allows for just the opposite.

The question is really whether we consider confirmation (and admission to the sacrament) to be tied to Baptismal Regeneration, or whether it is tied to intellectual development.  In the latter case, the possibility exists that confirmation will be divorced from admission to the sacrament.   Very few are suggesting that admission to the sacrament be delayed past 14, where almost 80% of congregations place it.  I have heard suggestions that confirmation be delayed past that point, but then divorced from admission to the Altar.

So in order to figure out a “best practice” with regard to confirmation, we must first determine what confirmation signifies, and what exactly we are confirming.  Are we confirming the baptismal confession of faith?  Are we confirming the value of the fullness of understanding that is afforded by eight years of Bender materials?  (More theology than is required by the SMP for ordination).  Perhaps we are simply confirming that what was done to us as children was  correct, because we are doing it too.

So, for those who like to respond : When we confirm, what exactly are we confirming?

For the rest of you : Just think quietly to yourselves.  No need to share with the group.

More on this later.


One Response to “Baptism, Confirmation, Communion”

  1. If confirmation is not tied to Baptism, there would be no reason to reaffirm the baptismal vows that were spoken for us.

    In the current rite of confirmation, the pastor asks, “Do you this day in the presence of God and of this congregation acknowledge the gifts that God gave you in your Baptism?” The confirmand responds, “Yes, I do.”

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