Confirmation Refresher

In the early Church the two components of adult initiation, immersion in water and the laying on of hands and anointing with chrysm, were performed in the same service by the Bishop (Acts 8.8-17; 19.6). As the Church expanded, Baptisms took place in the absence of the Bishop who completed the initiation through Confirmation at a later date.

During the Middle Ages the chronological separation between Baptism and Confirmation grew wider as all new-born babies, resulting from the belief in limbo, were baptised. These new arrangements led to a discussion about the relationship of Confirmation to the Eucharist. After the Council of Trent, children began to make their First Holy Communion at the age of seven, a practice which became entrenched as regular Sunday Mass attendance became compulsory, with Confirmation taking place at the threshold of puberty. This sequence is now being questioned by Rome.

The Church of England has never been very sure about Confirmation: for a start, many 'evangelicals' do not believe that it is a Sacrament; secondly, there is uncertainty about its relationship to the receiving of Holy Communion. Sadly, for most children, Confirmation is a 'passing out' ceremony from church activities.

The idea of Confirmation is that we receive the Power of God through the Holy Spirit to affirm the promises our parents made on our behalf at Baptism and to promise to be ambassadors for Christ.

The following are the kinds of questions a Bishop might ask a confirmation class, starting with a question about Confirmation itself:

  1. Can you think of an occasion when you have stood up for Christ or failed to do so?
  2. How can we believe in a loving God in the face of suffering?
  3. What does it mean to  be a sinner?
  4. Who was Jesus?
  5. In what way did the death of Jesus save us from our sins?
  6. What would Christianity be like without the Resurrection?
  7. How would you explain The Holy Spirit?
  8. In the context of so many denominations, what do we mean by "The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church"?
  9. Do you believe everything we say in the Creeds?
  10. Do you believe everything we read in the Bible?
  11. how would you respond to somebody who says God does not answer prayer because 'he' does not cure all those who pray for a cure?
  12. What is a Sacrament? How many do you say there are?
  13. Is Christianity just one way of many to reach God?