Specifically, which churches practice child-baptism but not confirmation?

A Brazilian friend recently shocked me by saying that her church does not practice confirmations. The wiki page for Baptism has an extensive comparison of baptism rites, however it does not go into detail about confirmation.

As I understand it the following is standard in the major denominations. Perhaps it would be useful to explain the differences relative to this.

Baptism is an induction into the Christian faith which necessarily involves a public declaration of faith and wetting/immersion/submersion with water. If the baptism is performed before the person has 'come of age' (usually coincides with puberty and reaching the age of 13 years), then the parents and godparents make the declaration on behalf of the child.

Once a baptised child has 'come of age' (as described earlier) they may choose to undergo confirmation, which is a public declaration of faith and does not necessarily involve water.

A person can only take part in communion if they have undergone an adult baptism or confirmation.

  • 1
    It might help if you could identify the denomination your Brazilian friend belongs to. The last sentence of your quote doesn't apply to the Roman Catholic Church or the Church of England, both of which make provision for communion before confirmation (and following infant baptism). – Andrew Leach Jun 11 '13 at 6:48
  • @AndrewLeach I wish I could but she doesn't actually know. She left the country at a relatively young age and hasn't been able to trace back. She's certain that the church didn't have confirmation. It's possible that her church was a denomination of one. – LittleJohn Jun 11 '13 at 6:58
  • @LittleJohn Its my understanding that belief surveys are not allowed. Most protestant denominations will baptise children not babies but will not have "confirmations". – user4060 Jun 11 '13 at 9:56
  • We typically don't handle "list" questions where the expected answer is a run down of all groups that do or don't do X. If that's what you want out of an answer this isn't the place, but I think we might be able to set the record straight a little bit on the various pieces so that you can have something to work from when investigating individual churches or traditions on your own. (To that end, @caseyr547 do you think my answer shows a viable way to handle this question here without making it a survey?) – Caleb Jun 11 '13 at 10:50
  • @Caleb yep :) i agree – user4060 Jun 11 '13 at 10:53

I think your question is probably about infant baptism, not child baptism. The latter isn't really a term used by churches. Those that would baptism young children but not infants would generally call this "believers baptism". If the child is too young to make even a simplistic declaration of faith then they probably fall under the umbrella of "infant" baptism.

Of those churches that practice infant baptism some major ones (including Catholics) usually implement some form of confirmation before offering communion and full membership in the visible church.

On the other side, there are many traditions (some Presbyterians and other Reformed traditions for example) that understand children of believers to be full participants in the visible church—recipients of God's grace and promises and as such responsible for keeping his commandments. In addition to infant baptism, these churches will usually offer communion to children of believing members. Children are both under the instruction and discipline of their family and, like their family heads, also under the instruction and discipline of the church. They may, of course, choose as they grow up to reject what they have been taught and believe or practice something contrary to the teachings entrusted to them. In this case they are automatically considered responsible based on what they have been given and like any other member of the church, disciplined up to an including excommunication which is simply a declaration that their life is in some way unrepentant and therefore not to be included in the visible church. (See this answer for further explanation of what that is about.)

  • Very informative, thank you. I was unaware of the list rule however it seems obvious to me now that such questions are unwanted. – LittleJohn Jun 11 '13 at 11:31
  • In my church (PCA), we do practice paedobaptism, but not paedocommunion. That is, only those who have made a public profession of faith may take communion even if they have been baptized. Additionally, we do not practice "confirmation" – SSumner Jun 11 '13 at 14:34
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    @SSumner Both the PCA churches I joined had public vows and a preceding class describing the basics of the faith, the PCA, and the individual congregation. This seems close to "confirmation" in some ways--it is certainly not considered a sacrament. The class aspect may be rather congregation specific, but public membership vows seem important (a bit like marriage vows). Without membership in a gospel-believing church, one is not supposed to take communion. – Paul A. Clayton Jun 11 '13 at 19:09
  • @PaulA.Clayton - yes, there are certainly similarities to confirmation. I think a membership class is fairly common (my church had one too) – SSumner Jun 11 '13 at 20:11
  • @PaulA.Clayton Your comment inspired me to ask this question. I'd appreciate your insight. – LittleJohn Jun 11 '13 at 23:24

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