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Confirmation Cannot Be a Sacrament

According to the Roman Catholic practice of confirmation, the bishop lays his hands on those who are about to receive their first Communion so that they will receive the Holy Spirit. While the practice has been retained in many Lutheran and Reformed bodies, it is not regarded as a sacrament because the promise of receiving the Holy Spirit was related by the apostles to baptism alone (Acts 2:38). If confirmation is to be retained without calling into question the validity of baptism, it cannot be a sacrament. Rather than a means of grace, it is the profession of faith on the part of adult converts and those brought up in the visible covenant who publicly confess Christ before their brothers and sisters and become full communicant members. Confirmation or profession of faith is the believer’s act, a response to the promise made in baptism. Therefore, while public profession is certainly commanded (Ro 10:9–10) and is the prerequisite for adult converts (as witnessed throughout Acts), believers also brought their children for baptism, and the children’s profession of faith is their means of accepting the promise ratified in their baptism rather than a means of grace in its own right.

 Michael Horton, The Christian Faith, 773