Confirmation Rites/Vows

Hi all,

The topic came up in a roundabout way from a separate thread, and I think it’s worth taking time to comparing/contrast how various Christians approach it. Obviously there are differing views on Confirmation; some hold that it constitutes a Sacrament in and of itself, others simply understand it to be the public acknowledgement of the Grace already received in Baptism, or a continuing reception of that same Grace, while still others fall somewhere between or beyond. My question is not so much what your church body believes Confirmation to be (though it certainly will play some part in explaining your answer), but more about the rubric and rite used by your church. I am curious to see what peculiarities may exist between denominations.

What particularly interests me is what kind of confession and vows are made by catechumens. For example, in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, catechumens twice vow “even unto death” - first, to remain true to God, and second to never fall away from “this confession and Church.” The promise to suffer death rather than fall away from the Faith may be implied in other church bodies, but the fact that it is publicly promised by all LCMS members (twice!) piques my interest - how many other bodies make similar vows? What unique vows/practices/rites does your church practice? Please share!

For reference, I’ve included a snip of the ‘vows’ portion of the Rite of Confirmation used by the LCMS:

The pastor addresses the catechumens.
P: Beloved in the Lord, our Lord Jesus Christ said to His apostles: [Matthew 28:18b-20]. You have been baptized and catechized in the Christian faith according to our Lord’s bidding. Jesus said, [Matthew 10:32-33]. Lift up your hearts, therefore, to the God of all grace and joyfully give answer to what I now ask you in the name of the Lord.

P: Do you this day in the presence of God and of this congregation acknowledge the gifts that God gave you in your Baptism?
R: Yes, I do.

P: Do you renounce the devil?
R: Yes, I renounce him.

P: Do you renounce all his works?
R: Yes, I renounce them.

P: Do you renounce all his ways?
R: Yes, I renounce them.

P: Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty?
R: Yes, I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

P: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord?
R: Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sites at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

P: Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?
R: Yes, I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christians Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

P: Do you hold all the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures to be the inspired Word of God?
R:I do.

P: Do you confess the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, drawn from the Scriptures, as you have learned to know it from the Small Catechism, to be faithful and true?
R: I do.

P: Do you intend to hear the Word of God and receive the Lord’s Supper faithfully?
R: I do, by the grace of God.

P: Do you intend to live according to the Word of God, and in faith, word, and deed to remain true to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, even to death?
R: I do, by the grace of God.

P: Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?
R: I do, by the grace of God.

P: We rejoice with thankful hearts that you have been baptized and have received the teaching of the Lord. You have confessed the faith and been absolved of your sins. As you continue to hear the Lord’s Word and receive His blessed Sacrament, He who has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
C: Amen.

The catechumens kneel to receive the confirmation blessing. The pastor places his hands on the head of each catechumen and makes the sign of the cross on the forehead while saying:
P: ______, the almighty God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given you the new birth of water and of the Spirit and has forgiven you all your sins, strengthen you with His grace to life + everlasting.
R: Amen.

The pastor may read a text of Holy Scripture as a remembrance of confirmation. After all the catechumens have received the blessing, [one or two collects are prayed]…

P: Peace + be with you.
C: Amen.

The service continues with the PRAYER OF THE CHURCH.

My denomination, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), does not practice Confirmation. At baptism you are asked if you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, but you don’t take a long vow like that. At least that’s what I’ve seen and remember.

What you call Confirmation we call Christmation, and we administer it to infants immediately after baptism.

Christmation has always interested me (perhaps just because I have always liked the use of oil, which I forgot to mention is used by some Lutherans during the rite of confirmation). Do you happen to know the source of the practice? I’ve asked in other threads, but it’s never been answered. It’s unclear to me when or why East and West started doing things differently when it came to this. Thanks, in advance for forgiving me my Western ignorance! :smiley:

I was confirmed in the LCA, and the pastor’s prayer over me I will never forget:

The Father in heaven, for Jesus’ sake, renew and increase in thee the gift of the Holy Ghost, to thy strengthening in faith, to thy growth in grace, to thy patience in suffering, and to the blessed hope of everlasting life.

Jon

According to our own traditions it is as old as the Church itself, having begun by the apostles.

What real evidence there is of that I don’t know. I do know that a couple of Protestant scholars I spoke to mentioned that there is evidence that it was used quite early on.

It is not always administered to infants. Adult converts are also given the sacrament, in conjunction with baptism, or separately in the case of previous baptism. Are not the baptismal promises said at this time?

Edit: on second thought, they are probably when the person enters the catechumenate, but Chrismation of adults is certainly a part of the Orthodox church.

Of course. I speak as one who was confirmed an Anglican, and later Christmated Orthodox (and you were correct, it is after baptism).

Which raises another point. In the West Confirmation is seen as something that is done once - much like baptism. In the East it is something that can be done multiple times, and, for example, is often part of being readmitted to the Church after one commits apostasy.

The norm, however, is that infants are Christmated and rarely do they ever do it again later in life.

My confirmation was in the LCMS and prayerfully took those vows without hesitant though not opposed to less specific language.

What are the confirmation vows in the Catholic Church?

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