When I was a baby I was baptized in a Reformed church descended from the Dutch Reformed Church. I still have my certificate of baptism. Then I went to Sunday school with other kids in the neighborhood.
When I was in middle school, I went to catechizing class taught by the pastor along with the other Sunday school kids my age. After about a year, there was a public confirmation ceremony (part of a regular Sunday service) where I received another certificate. From then on, I became an official member of the church and I needed to go to the "adult" service.
I didn't know much about Reformed theology at the time. I didn't even know that my church's theology was "Reformed". I found out later that the pastor recommended Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology if I wanted to learn more, and that's how I knew that my church was Reformed.
In Catholicism, there is a sacrament of Confirmation, which is also given at about the same age (11-16) for candidates already baptized (at which they received the indwelling Holy Spirit). The sacrament's primary purpose is exactly what the priest said as he traces the sign of the Cross on the forehead of the candidate as he says "Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit." (source). Unfortunately I didn't remember what the pastor said during the ceremony when I was confirmed, nor do I remember what gestures he used.
My question: In comparison with the Catholic sacrament of confirmation, what is the purpose of confirmation according to Reformed theology?
Related questions that an answer may want to address as well:
- Is it understood that there is a similar "sealing with the gift of the Holy Spirit"?
- Is there a connection with the forvigeness of Original Sin which in the Catholic understanding was given in infant baptism so babies can go to heaven, but in Reformed theology this "not going to heaven if you are not baptized" is no longer applicable because of predestination?
- What is the Biblical basis for this practice in Reformed churches?
- What did Calvin say about it?
- Since when it was practiced?
- Which Reformed denominations do public confirmation today?