What is Confirmation?

October 2021
Dear Friends in Christ
 
This month’s TLO Disciple theme is What is Confirmation? This month on Reformation Sunday we will celebrate the rite of Confirmation for those high school youth who have prepared to make their declaration of faith. Confirmation is not a sacrament. It is practiced to give Christians the opportunity to profess their faith publicly. It is a good practice.
 
Jesus said, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 10:32-33.
 
God commands parents teach their children the Word of God. And the Scriptures teach that the pastors of the church are to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. It is important that children learn what God has given them in their baptism, namely, the forgiveness of sins, life and eternal salvation. And that they are taught the blessings and power of having been into faith in Jesus.
 
The Gospel is Good News. To be baptized is to receive a gift from God, the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Confirmation ministry helps the Christian to learn what it means to be a child of God and how to live by faith.
 
Pastor Kroonblawd
My Child is Baptized. Now What?
 
Baptism is a sacrament. It is not simply a naming service or dedication. Baptism is God’s loving action as a free gift to the one who is baptized. After your child is baptized, parents and sponsors are a vital part of baptism. Together with the Christian community, you provide the necessary support that helps your child grow in faith. Here’s what you can do after your child is baptized to nurture and strengthen the faith in Jesus given in baptism:
 
Faithfully Bring the Child to the Services of God's House
The key words are “faithfully bring”—not “drop off” or “come occasionally.” In addition to serving as a good example for children, regular worship attendance and active participation in the life of the church provides the entire family with the love, support, and community that are so needed in our busy lives. Recognizing that infants and little children can become restless during the service, we provide “Wiggle Tamers,” a bag of activities to occupy the child during the service. The church nursery is staffed for infants and toddlers. Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran Church and School’s pastors are not disturbed if small children are restless during the service, and our members are not either.
 
Teach them at home the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments
Young children can learn the Lord’s Prayer as soon as they are able to speak, preschool children can learn the Creed and the Ten Commandments. Knowing these staples of the faith helps them learn about God and enables them to actively participate in Sunday worship.
 
Place the Holy Scriptures in their Hands
There are many Bible story books and picture books appropriate for very young children, and they delight in looking at the pictures with an adult or hearing the Bible stories read to them. Every Fall, children who have reached third grade are invited to bring their parents to the altar to receive their personal copy of the Bible. Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran Church and School uses the Faith Alive Bible which is the standard for all our Christian education classes. Read at least one Bible story to your child every day.
 
Provide for your child's Instruction in the Christian Faith
Make Sunday school, Vacation Bible school, and youth ministry priorities in your family. Each summer we mail information about the Christian education programs available along with registration forms. Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran Church and School offers children a strong academic education within a Christian setting, preparing students to meet the challenges of the world.
THE RITE OF CONFIRMATION

Click here to read the Rite of Confirmation from our Lutheran Service Book.
Commentary: Confirmation — more than a 'graduation'
By Marvin Bergman

By now, the newness of school supplies may be wearing off. Well into their first month back in classrooms, students are already counting down the days to Christmas break. But in confirmation classes, young Lutherans show no signs of slowing down.

In a recent survey of more than 1,000 confirmation leaders, parents, and youth that I conducted, an overwhelming majority of confirmands affirmed the importance and benefits of confirmation instruction. Adults also made it clear that confirmation is a very important ministry.  Several highlights of the study will illustrate why confirmation is important.

Confirmation’s history
Perhaps a brief overview of confirmation can help to clarify its role in the life of the church.

In the early church,....Click to read the robust history.

Why important?
In my survey of 1,015 participants, confirmands reflected many of the benefits of the instruction and nurture of parents, confirmation leaders, teachers, and congregations. Click to read what the survey revealed.

A theological ‘graduation’?
If Lutheran youth are eager to mine the rich theological treasures of the church now, what happens after confirmation? What is the role of parents? And how can pastors, directors of Christian education, Lutheran teachers, deaconesses and other congregational leaders help encourage these young people in the faith? Marvin Bergman answers these questions!

What you can do
Considering this survey’s results, there are several things you can do to encourage the youth of your congregation prior to, during and after confirmation. Read Mr. Bergman's inspiring call to action!

Dr. Marvin M. Bergman of Seward is an emeritus faculty member of Concordia University Nebraska and lay ministry coordinator for the LCMS Nebraska District. A 1959 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, he earned doctorates from Columbia University and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He taught confirmation classes for 26 years.
Posted Sept. 1, 2010
The Lord’s Supper
 
God’s Word regarding the necessity of instruction in preparation for receiving the body and blood of the Lord in the Sacrament of the Altar:
 
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But a person must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. —1 Corinthians 11:23-28
Can adults be Baptized and Confirmed?
 
Yes. Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran Church offers a faith exploration class designed for those who are interested in Confirmation. This course, GodConnects, is for those wanting to explore God’s Word and learn about the Christian faith or review the foundations of the Christian faith. Attendance at the class may lead to membership in our church, but there are no obligations.   
For adults seeking to receive instruction in the Christian faith and be confirmed, upon a satisfactory completion of GodConnects, a sit down is scheduled with Pastor Kroonblawd, and a date will be scheduled for baptism or to receive the adult confirmand into communicant membership of Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran Church. There are 12 chapters of study, so this instruction is usually completed in 3 sessions on Saturday mornings or a time can be scheduled with the pastor.

We can accommodate both in-person and Zoom communication; please let us know your preference. 
The Message of Confirmation
September 7, 2010
by Rev. Tim Pauls
 
Ah, confirmation–a defining mark of Lutheran congregations. It’s supposed to be a good thing, the pastor preparing youth for communicant membership. Too often, though, it’s seen only as a necessary rite of passage to endure rather than a blessing to enjoy.
 
For some reason, teenagers just don’t seem to enjoy memorizing the Catechism or giving up their Wednesday nights to attend class. They often arrive as unwilling participants. And frankly, when that’s the atmosphere, we pastors aren’t all that excited, either.
 
So, what to do? I’ve contemplated other options, like a reality-show format where we vote one student out of the class each week. But I believe there’s a better way. Here are a few suggestions that pastors and parents might find helpful.
 
1. Start at Home
Each chief part of the Small Catechism begins with the subtitle, “As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household.” The Small Catechism isn’t supposed to be the mystery book that your child suddenly discovers in confirmation class. When it gets used at home, it communicates to your child that it’s a book for use in life, not just at church.
 
2. Start Early
It’s disturbing that so many parents approve of makeup for very young girls, but then want to limit their vocabulary to childish words. Meanwhile, the world isn’t waiting–it’s indoctrinating your kids about grownup issues at early ages.
 
Dinosaur books (practically every boy’s favorite) preach evolution, and after-school TV shows for kids imply that all religions are the same. It’s a bad idea to give the world a decade’s head start on these matters.
 
3. Take Little Steps
You may feel ill-equipped and unprepared to teach the faith at home. However, you have the tools you need and more opportunities than you realize. You probably already read stories to your children; so read them Bible stories and talk about what God does for people in each one.
 
4. Review Frequently
As the old saying goes, “Repetition is the mother of all learning.” Challenge your children to repeat the memory work you’ve learned as a family or to tell you their favorite Bible stories. Praise them lavishly when they do.
 
5. Model Church Attendance
Your kids are watching you; your actions teach them what is important to you. When parents drop off their kids for Sunday School on their way to breakfast, it sends the message that they skip Bible class because they believe that there’s a time when we can stop learning about the Lord and His grace.
 
6. Model Study at Home
Set aside some time for your own prayer and Bible reading. Your kids need the example. You need the Word.
 
7. Model Repentance
One of the failures that you may need to confess is that you haven’t taught the faith at home through the years, and now you’re facing a rebellious confirmand. Don’t bluster and threaten. Confess. And then rejoice that the Lord forgives you for all of your sins. When all is said and done, that is the message of confirmation.
 
About the Author: Rev. Tim Pauls is associate pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Boise, Idaho. This story appeared originally in the July/August 2006 Lutheran Witness. LCMS congregations may reprint for parish use. All other rights reserved. Text copyright © 2006 by Tim Pauls. Used by permission.
The Large and Small Catechisms of Dr. Luther
POSTED October 7, 2017
by Rev. Jonathon T. Krenz
 
The Large and Small Catechisms of Dr. Luther were born of pastoral necessity. In 1528, Luther and his colleagues visited the congregations in Saxony to assess their spiritual health. Luther was horrified. “Mercy! Dear God, what great misery I beheld!”
 
Thus Luther writes in his Preface to The Small Catechism. “The common person, especially in the villages, has no knowledge whatever of Christian doctrine. And unfortunately, many pastors are completely unable and unqualified to teach… Yet, everyone says they are Christians, have been baptized, and receive the holy Sacraments, even though they cannot even recite the Lord’s Prayer or the Creed or the Ten Commandments. They live like dumb brutes and irrational hogs… O bishops! What answer will you ever give to Christ for having so shamefully neglected the people and never for a moment fulfilled your office [James 3:1]?” 
 
[SC Preface: 2-3, 4. Concordia: A Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord, Paul Timothy McCain et al., Eds (St. Louis: Concordia, 2005, 2006)]
Dr. Martin Luther’s Two Catechisms
 
Dr. Martin Luther wrote his Small and Large Catechisms for pastors and parents to teach their children the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. How well do you know your catechism?
 
Dr. Luther’s Small and Large Catechisms are both comprised of six chief parts.
  • The Ten Commandments teach us what we are to do and not do, and how we are to live. As the holy Law of God, they serve as a mirror for self-examination. They show us that we have broken God’s Commandments. We have not lived up to His good will for us, and the wages of our sin is death and eternal condemnation.
  • The Creed teaches us what God has done to save us from sin, death, and the devil.
  • The Lord’s Prayer casts us upon our gracious Father for all our needs of body and soul.
  • Baptism makes us God’s own child and washes away our sins.
  • Absolution is the Word of God Himself who forgives our sins and bespeaks us righteous in Christ.
  • The Sacrament of the Altar is Christ’s crucified and risen body and blood, given under bread and wine for us Christians to eat and to drink for the forgiveness of our sins.

FROM GOD'S WORD

"Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown." Rev. 2:10
Luther’s Small Catechism online
Click on each topical link below to further your study
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Catechism available for purchase

The 2017 edition of Luther's Small Catechism is an excellent resource to keep you growing in your faith. Through the month of October, catechisms are available for purchase in the TLO narthex. Or order yours online at cph.org.
Memory Verse Challenge
 
The church confesses to Christ, “You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). The church is encouraged to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly ...” (Col. 3:16). Psalm 1 teaches us to meditate on God’s Word day and night. It is our great opportunity and joy to read and study God’s Word. One beneficial practice is to memorize the Scriptures and, in so doing, to meditate on it. 
 
This week’s memory verse: Psalm 56:3 – “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Lutherans believe that the Bible teaches that a person is saved by God's grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ. Baptism, we believe, is one of the miraculous means of grace (together with God's written and spoken Word) through which God creates the gift of faith in a person's heart.
 
Although we do not claim to understand how this happens or how it is possible, we believe (because of what the Bible says about Baptism) that when an infant is baptized God creates faith in the heart of that infant.
A biblical Lutheran understanding of the Holy Spirit
 
In the Small Catechism, Martin Luther gets right to the heart of the Spirit’s saving work in his explanation to the Third Article of the Apostle’s Creed:
 
I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.
 
What about the Holy Spirit? May 14, 2019 / The Magazine / By LW Contributor / by Curtis P. Giese
This faith cannot yet, of course, be expressed or articulated, yet it is real and present all the same (see, e.g., 1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:38-39; Titus 3:5-6; Matt. 18:6; Luke 1:15; 2 Tim. 3:15; Gal. 3:26-27; Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:11-12; 1 Cor. 12:13).
Confirmation is a time-honored church tradition (not required by God's Word, but we believe useful nonetheless) in which the child baptized as an infant is given the opportunity to confess for himself or herself the faith that he or she was unable to confess as an infant.
Faith is not “created” at confirmation, but it is rather confessed for all to hear so that the church can join and rejoice in this public confession, which has its roots in the faith which God Himself created in Baptism. 

Soli Deo gloria
Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran
2950 Highway 55
Eagan, MN 55121
651-454-7235