Confirmation is a custom that has developed since the early church and has taken on many forms and changes over the years. Lutherans normally use Martin Luther’s Small Catechism as the basis for instruction, which includes six chief parts:
The Ten Commandments
The Lord’s Prayer
The Sacrament of Holy Baptism
The Sacrament of the Altar
Who does the “confirming”? Do the pastor and/or congregation confirm the student? Does the student confirm their Christian faith and baptismal vows? Does God’s Word confirm the faith that is confessed? The best answer is “Yes!” since confirmation includes all of the above.
Even within the LC-MS, traditions vary regarding confirmation, affecting decisions such as the age a young person begins confirmation instruction and the length of time for instruction. While confirmation is not in itself a sacrament, it is very closely related to the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, teaching a person to better understand what these mean in their Christian pilgrimage.
In essence, Confirmation, from the time of the early church until today, is a response to the Great Commission from Matthew 28, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”