Confirmation in the Lutheran Church

I’m reading a book currently called “Confirmation in the Lutheran Church” by Arthur C. Repp. It shows that development of Confirmation practices in the Lutheran Church from the time of the Reformation onward. So far, it has been very eye-opening. One thing I did not know was the influence that Martin Bucer had on the Lutheran practice of Confirmation, which is a little bit troubling since Bucer seemed to be somewhat influenced by the Anabaptists. 

One thing that Repp observed in a majority of the Church Orders that he examined was that the pastor was primarily responsible for reviewing and questioning the children before confirmation. The instruction itself largely took place in the home, or in the school if there was one. One wonders if taking catechesis out of the home and placing it primarily on the shoulders of the pastor and the schools hasn’t done more harm than good. I wonder what would happen if, instead of teaching the children, we taught the parents and they in turn would instruct their children in the basic teachings of the Catechism. Then, when the parents thought the child was sufficiently catechized, they could bring the child to the pastor, have him or her questioned, and if the pastor was satisfied with their knowledge, invite the child to partake of the Lord’s Supper. 

I also find it interesting that, at least in the context of the Reformation and Post-Reformation era, Lutherans were wary of ceremonies such as the laying on of hands for confirmands because it was a “Romanizing practice.” So often today the things that Lutherans think are “Romanizing” practices are in truth Lutheran, and the things that people think are so Lutheran are in fact Catholic. I am looking forward to reading more of this book. 


About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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One Response to Confirmation in the Lutheran Church

  1. Been There, Done That says:

    Fr. Beisel –
    You have comprade at JWCC who, like me, has read Repp’s book and far beyond. But recognizing that much of what we do flows from the Anabaptists and Bucer, is a good start.

    The Rev. Dr. Patrick Fodor will be glad to chat about the subject.


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