Catechism

LIFE IN CHRIST

What is Catechism?

 

Catechism is a lifelong process to learn and mature in God's Word and the Christian faith.

 

This process begins at baptism and continues until a person sees Jesus face to face.

 

Confirmation includes a public ceremony where fellow Christians confirm a soul is saved in Christ's grace.

 

The "Con" means together. The "Firm" refers to verification.

 

The Church has the great privilege and responsibility to confirm a soul as a fellow believer.

 

John 20:22-23. And with that He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

 

Membership in the Church is not an empty ritual or rite, but the Holy Spirit's heartfelt confession of the truths of God's Word and faith in the Triune God.

 

It should be mentioned that the Bible never addresses the topic of Confirmation, but it does address divine elements of what the rite encompasses:

  • teaching,
  • learning,
  • confessing,
  • witnessing,
  • and living in Christ and His Word for true membership in the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

One of Luther's friends, Phillip Melanchthon, promoted a private examination and confirmation with the pastor (set aside to act in behalf of a congregation). A little later, another friend and pastor of Luther, John Bugenhagen, wanted confirmation to be a church family affair.

 

Luther signed onto both types to be used in Christian freedom.

 

Even though, Confirmation is sadly treated as graduation from church and even as a rite of passage into adulthood, it might be good to hear what Martin Chemnitz said about Confirmation.

 

Chemnitz was considered the great theologian of the second generation of Lutheran reformers.

Our theologians have often shown that if traditions that are useless, superstitious and in conflict with Scripture are removed, the rite of Confirmation can be used in godly fashion and for the edification of the church, namely in this way, that those who were baptized in infancy (for that is now the condition of the church) would, when they have arrived at the years of discretion, be diligently instructed in the sure and simple teaching of the church's doctrine and, when it is evident that the elements of the doctrine have been sufficiently grasped, be brought afterward to the overseer and the church.

 

[First], there the child who was baptized in infancy would by a brief and simple admonition be reminded of his Baptism, namely that he was baptized, how, why, and into what he was baptized, what in this Baptism the whole Trinity conferred upon and sealed to him, namely the covenant of peace and the compact of grace, how there Satan was renounced and a profession of faith and a promise of obedience made.

 

Second, the child himself would give his own public profession of this doctrine and faith.

 

Third, he would be questioned concerning the chief parts of the Christian religion and would respond with respect to each of them or, if he should show lack of understanding in some part, he would be better instructed.

 

Fourth, he would be reminded and would show by his confession that he disagrees with all heathenish, heretical, fanatical, and ungodly opinions.

 

Fifth, there would be added an earnest and serious exhortation from the Word of God that he should persevere in his baptismal covenant and in this doctrine and faith and, by making progress in the same, might thereafter be firmly established.

 

Sixth, public prayer would be made for these children that God would deign, by his Holy Spirit, to govern, preserve, and strengthen them in this profession. To this prayer there could be added without superstition the laying on of hands. This prayer would not be in vain, for it relies upon the promise concerning the gift of preservation and on God's strengthening grace. Such a rite of Confirmation would surely be very useful for the edification of the young and of the whole church. It would be in harmony with both Scripture and the purer antiquity.

 

Examen Concilii Tridentini (Pt. 2 L. 3 De Confirmatione).

 

 

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