31 March 2007

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

In honor of the fact that tomorrow at St. Paul's 9 young people will be examined and then confirmed in Christ with prayer and the laying on of hands, the following quote from the Blessed Martin Chemnitz:


Our theologians have often shown that if traditions that are useless, superstitious and in conflict with Scripture are removed, the rite of confirmation can be used in a godly fashion and for the edification of the church, namely, in this way, that those who were baptized in infancy (for that is now the condition of the church) would, when they have 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 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, what in his Baptism the whole Trinity conferred upon 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 was made.

Second, that 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 and would respond with respect to each of them or, if he should show lack of understanding, he would be better instructed.

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

Fifth, there would be added an earnest and serious exhortation from the Word of God that he would 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 preservation and on God's strengthening grace.

Such a rite of confirmation would be very useful for the edification of the young and the whole church. It would also be in harmony with both the Scriptures and the purer antiquity.

3 comments:

Preston Paul said...

It intrigues me that in this quote Chemnitz makes no connection between admission to the Lord's Supper and Confirmation. Does Chemnitz assume that the children have already been admitted to the Sacrament?

William Weedon said...

I do not believe that he ever mentions that connection, fwiw.

Jeffrey said...

From the instructions on the distribution of Holy Communion by Wilhelm Loehe:

"The ministers, according to ancient usage, receive first; then the men, and after them the women. Of the men, the catechumens and younger people commune first: of the women, the same order obtains."...

Source:
_Liturgy for Christian Congregations of the Lutheran Faith_
by William Loehe
Reprinted 1993 by Repristination Press (Fort Wayne, IN)
see page 33