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Confirmation Verses

Started by Mark Brown, May 19, 2021, 09:36:57 AM

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MaddogLutheran

Quote from: Richard Johnson on May 21, 2021, 08:20:55 AM
It's been interesting to me to see how "confirmation" has been treated in the Episcopal congregation where we have worshiped since retirement. Essentially, the bishop's visit is scheduled and then an invitation goes out to anyone who is interested in being confirmed--young teenagers through mature adults. There is a brief series of "classes" (not really very intensive, mostly "here's a summary of Christian faith in the Anglican view, and an introduction to what the Episcopal church is about). The mature adults may have been attending the congregation for some time, but may come from different church backgrounds, so the "confirmation" is mostly a "now you're an Episcopalian" sort of formal rite--even though they may have been worshiping and contributing and voting for years. Pretty loosey-goosey. I don't know if that is typical or just a local approach.
I do wonder whether value of confirmation, in Catholic and Episcopal circles, is as much about the visitation by the bishop (or auxiliary bishop) to the parish, than administering confirmation to the candidates.  Perhaps this tradition has endured (and not collapsed/fallen to the extraordinary minister of confirmation the local pastor/priest/rector) because it gives a reason for the bishop to visit and be seen.

I understand Queen Elizabeth has articulated her belief throughout her reign that for the monarchy to endure, the monarch must be seen, everywhere and often.  Perhaps something similar is true of communions with powerful bishops.

Do Lutherans get excited when the bishop (or district president) visits?  And how frequently does that happen?
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

Michael Slusser

Quote from: MaddogLutheran on May 21, 2021, 04:47:50 PM
Quote from: Richard Johnson on May 21, 2021, 08:20:55 AM
It's been interesting to me to see how "confirmation" has been treated in the Episcopal congregation where we have worshiped since retirement. Essentially, the bishop's visit is scheduled and then an invitation goes out to anyone who is interested in being confirmed--young teenagers through mature adults. There is a brief series of "classes" (not really very intensive, mostly "here's a summary of Christian faith in the Anglican view, and an introduction to what the Episcopal church is about). The mature adults may have been attending the congregation for some time, but may come from different church backgrounds, so the "confirmation" is mostly a "now you're an Episcopalian" sort of formal rite--even though they may have been worshiping and contributing and voting for years. Pretty loosey-goosey. I don't know if that is typical or just a local approach.
I do wonder whether value of confirmation, in Catholic and Episcopal circles, is as much about the visitation by the bishop (or auxiliary bishop) to the parish, than administering confirmation to the candidates.  Perhaps this tradition has endured (and not collapsed/fallen to the extraordinary minister of confirmation the local pastor/priest/rector) because it gives a reason for the bishop to visit and be seen.

I understand Queen Elizabeth has articulated her belief throughout her reign that for the monarchy to endure, the monarch must be seen, everywhere and often.  Perhaps something similar is true of communions with powerful bishops.

Do Lutherans get excited when the bishop (or district president) visits?  And how frequently does that happen?
I think there's some truth in that idea as regards Catholics. More and more, however, bishops are not visiting parishes to confirm the candidates there, in each parish, but inviting candidates to the cathedral or a large central church in the region. They still visit parishes on liturgical occasions, but not just for confirmation. Our Archbishop Hebda comes for all kinds of celebrations, like parish anniversaries (or just plain festivals), or even when the pastor is ill!

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

peterm

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on May 21, 2021, 11:57:39 AM
A difficulty can arise when young children have been communing at one Lutheran congregation, and are passed by (for being "too young") at another congregation. This happened to a family who had been members my congregation - actually, I had brought them into the Lutheran fold from another denomination - and whose girls were communing before fifth grade. They had moved a couple of times, and the pastors of the Lutheran congregations in their new areas (all ELCA,) kept passing by their daughters. They ended up joining an Episcopal Church where there were no issues about their daughters receiving communion. The mother told me, "I'm still Lutheran in my heart."

Prior to coming to this parish in 2014, I served as a long term care chaplain, and we were active in a church near our home.  Both of my youngest children received their initial communion instruction there, and celebrated their First Communion shortly before we moved.  In my first Sunday as Pastor of this parish my youngest was quite concerned because she wasn't sure that the new pastor would  know that she had already had first communion instruction :)
Rev. Peter Morlock- ELCA pastor serving two congregations in WIS

Weedon

It's interesting to me how the transparochial nature of confirmation was maintained Lutherans in the 16th century. Chemnitz, in the Examen, describes confirmation along these lines:

"Those who were baptized in infancy (for that is now the condition of the church) would, when they 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 bishop and the church*. 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 him 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...

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

Fifth, that 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 perseverance and on God's strengthening grace."

He is detailing the practice of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel where he was said bishop for many years.

Jim Butler

Over their history, Lutherans have been all over the map in terms of age of first communion from fairly young (age 7 or 8) to as late as age 16 under some Pietists.

In America, the age of confirmation and first communion became tied to 8th grade. I'm not sure why that happened in the various bodies that now comprise the ELCA. It was logical that Missouri would do this. At first, congregational membership in the Synod was contingent upon the church having a school. Since 8th grade was, for the majority of the country, the end of formal education, it became a natural to have the rite of confirmation at that time. Over time, that tradition became very hard to change.

I know that early communion is pretty universal amongst the ELCA. It's fairly prevalent among the LCMS churches in New England. Do we know what percentage of LCMS churches practice early communion? Do any LCMS churches have a later confirmation?
"Pastor Butler... [is] deaf to the cries of people like me, dismissing our concerns as Satanic scenarios, denouncing our faith and our very existence."--Charles Austin

peter_speckhard

I was among the first in the LCMS to receive early communion. I'm not opposed to it. But I also saw no point to my confirmation. What exactly is the difference between a confirmed and an unconfirmed Christian who have both been communing for years?

Weedon

#36
I think it makes sense to:

1. Keep confirmation as the admission to the sacrament of the altar.
2. Make sure that no one is confirmed (child or adult) who cannot recite the six chief parts (not the explanations) and tell you what the Sacrament is and why they wish to receive it.
3. To that end, no one is welcomed to the table who has not been examined and absolved.
4. Remove absolutely all age requirements or grade requirements from consideration; but accept no adult or child as a confirmand who cannot do the above.
5. Encourage the public examination of the catechumens as an opportunity for the congregation to renew its own confession of faith.
6. Ask the Synod to please, please change the loyalty "oath" of confirmation from being to the Church to being to Christ. "Suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from HIM."

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: peter_speckhard on May 25, 2021, 04:00:54 PM
I was among the first in the LCMS to receive early communion. I'm not opposed to it. But I also saw no point to my confirmation. What exactly is the difference between a confirmed and an unconfirmed Christian who have both been communing for years?


Good question. What is the difference between a confirmed Christian and an unconfirmed Christian? Sometimes in a snarky mood I answer it: confirmed Christians can vote and serve on congregational council (which might be good reasons not to be confirmed).


Another issue is seeing confirmation as a type of graduation - I've learned all I need to know. A speaker commented that in working with a congregation, he realized that none of the council members had anything more than an eighth grade education. Their Christian education stopped after confirmation.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

peterm

This has been a really festinating conversation.  Each year as I begin a new class of confirmation instruction, I walk the classes through the rite of Baptism highlighting the promises that the parents, sponsors and congregation make on behalf of the one being baptized.  Then we talk about how confirmation instruction meets the promises to provide for instruction in the Christian faith.  During the 3rd year of class, those who are preparing to Affirm their baptism, I highlight the promises again and we explore what it means that now they are making those promises and that confession for themselves.  I'm often surprised by how that conversation plays out, and what the newly confirmed do in the congregation after they are confirmed.  Several have taught or are teaching Sunday School.  A couple are assisting with our elementary age youth group, and several who I was sure would disappear for awhile have stepped up to assist with our streaming technology and worship planning board.
Rev. Peter Morlock- ELCA pastor serving two congregations in WIS

Weedon

I also wanted to offer the insights afforded by this prayer for Confirmands from Lutheran Prayer Companion . It's originally from the Schwarzburg Agenda of 1650:

"O almighty, true, living God, eternal and merciful Father of our Savior Jesus Christ, who in loving kindness revealed Yourself to us: You say of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ, "This is My beloved Son, to whom you shall listen"; and this Your beloved Son Himself said, "Let the children come to Me, and do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of God." Therefore since these children present have been brought to Your dear Son, Jesus Christ, in Holy Baptism and are baptized into His death, washed with His blood, and buried with Christ by Holy Baptism, we beseech You, merciful God and Father, of Your lavish goodness, to renew in these Your children once more the Holy Spirit, whom You poured out on them richly in Holy Baptism, that their hearts may be lightened with the radiance of the Holy Gospel. Increase in them, O gracious God, both the pure knowledge of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and the true faith, that they may believe firmly in You, the true God, and in Jesus Christ, Your Son, whom You have sent, and with firm confidence abide steadfast in You. Deliver them from the power of darkness and set them in the kingdom of Your beloved Son, in which we have redemption and forgiveness of sins. Put in their minds the peace of Christ and the joy of the Holy Spirit, and the love of God and neighbor. Fill them with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, that He may instruct and guide them into all truth, and make them fit to serve in Your holy congregation, to put to death the deeds of the flesh, to overcome the devil in all his guile and temptation, and to serve You in holiness and the righteousness pleasing to You, that together with all the faithful they may look for and await the coming of Your beloved Son with a cheerful heart and active prayer in soberness, righteousness, and godliness, to Your glory and the edification of Your poor Church; for You live and reign with Jesus Christ, Your only-begotten Son, in the power and unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen."

Excerpt From
Lutheran Prayer Companion
Concordia Publishing House
https://books.apple.com/us/book/lutheran-prayer-companion/id1434070829
This material may be protected by copyright.

J. Thomas Shelley

Certainly many echoes of the Orthodox "Prayer of Confirmation" and "The Ablution"

https://www.goarch.org/-/the-service-of-holy-baptism
Greek Orthodox Deacon - Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Mark Brown

Quote from: Weedon on May 26, 2021, 09:03:58 PM
I also wanted to offer the insights afforded by this prayer for Confirmands from Lutheran Prayer Companion . It's originally from the Schwarzburg Agenda of 1650:

"O almighty, true, living God, eternal and merciful Father of our Savior Jesus Christ, who in loving kindness revealed Yourself to us: You say of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ, "This is My beloved Son, to whom you shall listen"; and this Your beloved Son Himself said, "Let the children come to Me, and do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of God." Therefore since these children present have been brought to Your dear Son, Jesus Christ, in Holy Baptism and are baptized into His death, washed with His blood, and buried with Christ by Holy Baptism, we beseech You, merciful God and Father, of Your lavish goodness, to renew in these Your children once more the Holy Spirit, whom You poured out on them richly in Holy Baptism, that their hearts may be lightened with the radiance of the Holy Gospel. Increase in them, O gracious God, both the pure knowledge of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and the true faith, that they may believe firmly in You, the true God, and in Jesus Christ, Your Son, whom You have sent, and with firm confidence abide steadfast in You. Deliver them from the power of darkness and set them in the kingdom of Your beloved Son, in which we have redemption and forgiveness of sins. Put in their minds the peace of Christ and the joy of the Holy Spirit, and the love of God and neighbor. Fill them with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, that He may instruct and guide them into all truth, and make them fit to serve in Your holy congregation, to put to death the deeds of the flesh, to overcome the devil in all his guile and temptation, and to serve You in holiness and the righteousness pleasing to You, that together with all the faithful they may look for and await the coming of Your beloved Son with a cheerful heart and active prayer in soberness, righteousness, and godliness, to Your glory and the edification of Your poor Church; for You live and reign with Jesus Christ, Your only-begotten Son, in the power and unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen."

Excerpt From
Lutheran Prayer Companion
Concordia Publishing House
https://books.apple.com/us/book/lutheran-prayer-companion/id1434070829
This material may be protected by copyright.

Three things jump out:
1) How the LSB liturgy reflects both the "let the little children come" and the "buried with Christ in baptism" parts of the this prayer.
2) The invocation of "renewal" of the Spirit is something that I think we are often afraid of which we shouldn't be
3) The use of holiness and service to the church in an active sense reflecting the Small Cat's 4th question on baptism, and the later LSB questions.

There really is a strong continuity of basic understanding of what this is all about.  And it in some ways also recalls Luecke's LF articles about awakenings.

Weedon

This might also be of interest. It's from the 1881 Church Liturgy of the Missouri Synod, and follows the examination.

Dear children! Soon after your birth, in tender age, you were baptized. At this your baptism you made a covenant with God Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and promised therein that you would have nothing to do with the devil, his pomp, will, and works; on the contrary, you vowed to your Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter to be His own, to live under Him in His kingdom, and to serve Him in holiness and righteousness before Him. Since, however, you, on account of your infancy, were unable to make this vow yourselves, your sponsors did speak and promise before God and His servant in your stead. But as you have now so far advanced in years and knowledge, that you are able to somewhat understand and comprehend the covenant of baptism made by you, you must, before being admitted to the Lord's Supper, yourselves speak and promise, and renew this precious baptismal covenant made with God. And now, my dearest and well beloved children, there has come that blessed time for you publicly and with your own lips dedicating yourselves to the Lord your God, to be wholly His own in body and soul, for time and eternity; and for promising the same with a solemn oath. Now, then, lift up your hearts with me to the God of all grace, and joyfully and confidently, with clear and full voice, give answer to what I now shall ask you in the name of the Lord and in His stead, as a minister of His Holy Church:

1. Are you resolved now to renew and confirm the covenant which by your sponsors you once made with the Triune God in your baptism? Answer: We are.
2. I ask you then: Do you again renounce the devil, all his works and all his pomp? Answer: We do.
3. Do you believe in God the Father? Answer: Yes, we believe in God the Father...(Apostles)
4. Do you believe in God the Son? Answer: Yes, we believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son...(Apostles)
5. Do you believe in God the Holy Ghost? Answer: Yes, we believe in the Holy Ghost... (Apostles)
6. Is it your will to be members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church? Answer: It is.
7. Do you hold all the canonical books of the O and N Testaments to be God's revealed Word, and do you hold the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, drawn from these books, as you learned to know it from the Small Catechism of the blessed Dr. Martin Luther to be the only correct one? Answer: We do.
8. And do you also intend to continue in the confession of this church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it? Answer: We do so intend with the help of God.
9. Finally, do you intend to faithfully conform all your life to the rule of the divine Word, to walk as it becometh the Gospel of Christ, and in faith, word, and deed remain true to the Triune God unto death? Answer: We do so intend by the grace of God.

What you have now confessed and solemly promised here before God and these present witnesses, now promise at the Lord's altar also by giving your hand and, kneeling, receive His blessing.

N.N. God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, give you His Holy Spirit, the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge, of grace and prayer, of power and strength, of sanctification and the fear of God. (Confirmation verse is given)

In virtue of this your voluntary public confession and express promise, I, an ordained minister of Jesus Christ and His Holy Church, declare you all to be members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and invite you to partake of all its privileges, goods, and blessings, for your termporal and eternal salvation, in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Aaronic benediction

Then: As to us, however, dear friends in Christ, it behooves us jointly and severally, because it is God the Lord alone who worketh both to will and to do of His good pleasure, to call upon Him for these tender members of this Christian church, that He also may confirm and perform in them His good work, which He has begun in them through the Holy Spirit. Let us therefore, kneel down together and unanimously pray in true faith:

Almighty merciful God, heavenly Father, who alone beginnest, confirmest, and performest in us every good thing, we pray Thee for these children whom Thou hast given to Thy church and regenerated through Holy Baptism, and whom Thou hast so far illumined that they themselves know Thy grace and goodness and their redemption in Christ, Thy dear Son, our Lord, and have confessed it before Thy church: strengthen this Thy work which Thou hast begun in them, increase in them the gift of Thy Holy Spirit, that they may be steadfast in Thy church, and in true faith and obedience to Thy Holy Gospel, and remain constant to their end, and not suffer themselves to be led from the confessed truth either by false doctrine, or fleshly lust, or the deceit of the world. Grant them that they to all Thy pleasure continue to grow in Christ, Thy Son, our common head, and come unto a perfect man in all wisdom, holiness, and righteousness, so that Thou and Thy dear Son, our Lord, together with the Holy Ghost, one true God, may more and more perfectly be known, heartily loved, and fruitfully praised and glorified by them in all their conversation in word and deed, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. Our Father...

The closing verse of "Let Me Be Thine Forever."

Timothy Schenks

#43
My Great Grandma and her sisters still remembered their confirmation verses in their nineties. Maybe Trinity Altenburg made them memorize them back then. I still have two of my great grandparents' leather-bound CPH Kirchengesangbuch from over a hundred years ago, which were their confirmation gifts.

I remember that Concordia Publishing House had a nice-looking set of confirmation certificates, about twenty different cards with a different Bible verse on the cover. My congregation ordered the same set every year for decades so I suppose they were fine as long as there weren't more than twenty confirmands. My certificate card was identical to my Mom's and two uncles, except for the verse. Mine was Ephesians 2:8-9.

I pointed them out to our last pastor a few years ago. He ordered them, crossed out the Bible verses on the front, and inserted his own. So much for tradition.
LCMS Layman

Timothy Schenks

Quote from: Weedon on May 27, 2021, 03:08:11 PM
This might also be of interest. It's from the 1881 Church Liturgy of the Missouri Synod, and follows the examination.

I typed this out about fifteen years ago: From the 1941 (Chaplain's) Service Prayer Book of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States

Do You Remember Your Confirmation Vow?

YOUR PROMISE TO GOD.

Do you remember it?

On the day of your Confirmation you made the highest and holiest promise you have ever made or ever will make. When your pastor took your hand, he was standing in the place of God. You were making a promise to the Most High. You renewed your vow once made when in Holy Baptism you entered upon a covenant with God Himself. Never again, as long as you live, will you make a more solemn vow. It was an either-or promise; either you keep it and are blessed in this world and the world to come, or you break it and unless you repent are lost for time and for eternity. It will make or break your life from now on.

It was not a promise made in private or before a single person. Think of all who were listening as you made your vow. Your pastor was listening. He must report to God that you kept or broke it. Your parents and friends were listening, hoping and praying that you would never forget. And above all, invisible but surely present was your Savior Himself, Who died on the cross in order that you might be able to make your Confirmation vow.

Perhaps there will be men and women in your life who will forget a promise you made to them. God never forgets. Even on the Last Day, when heaven and earth shall pass away, He will ask you before His throne on high concerning the vow you made before His altar on earth.

Do you remember that vow?

"Do you as members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, intend to continue steadfast in the confession of this Church, and suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?"

"We do so intend, with the help of God."

"Do you intend faithfully to conform all your life to the rule of the divine Word, to walk as it becometh the Gospel of Christ, and in faith, word and deed to remain true to the Triune God, even unto death?"

"We do so intend, by the grace of God."

God never forgets. Do you remember?

Lord Jesus, without Thee I cannot keep my Confirmation vow. Help me, I pray, to remember and keep it forever. Amen.
LCMS Layman

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