Confirmation of Baptism
In May, many churches celebrate confirmation, a practice with biblical roots. For example, Peter and John are sent to “[lay] their hands on” new believers and “[pray] for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:15, 17, NRSV).
In the early church, new Christians, most of whom were adult converts, received baptism and confirmation as one ceremony. As more children were brought for baptism, the practice became for pastors and priests to baptize but for only bishops to “confirm” a baptism, or make it official, granting the baptized full membership in the church.
Later confirmation became a rite by which adolescents, often following intensive Christian education, profess for themselves the faith into which they were baptized. Some denominations prefer the term “affirmation of baptism.”
Confirmation serves as a milestone of faith, when young adults begin embracing a life of discipleship with a sense of purpose.