Blog 235: 4.19.7- 4.19.13
Confirmation, a sacrament in Roman Catholic theology, was an offence to Calvin because it sapped the meaning of baptism. In scholastic terms, baptism only washed away original sin and those sins committed before baptism. Confirmation was viewed as a sacrament of continuing grace. Calvin, on the other hands, viewed baptism and a sign and seal of forgiveness and reconciliation for the entirety of one's life - making confirmation unnecessary. Besides which, the New Testament church knew nothing of it and on this ground alone, confirmation is an intrusion, an invention of man and essentially idolatrous [Calvin calls it "this misborn wraith" 4.19.13].
Instead of priestly anointing with oil, baptized children ought to confirm their faith by testifying to the church of the grace of God in their lives. Furthermore, to ensure that such a testimony is biblical and based upon solid foundations, Calvin advocates the practice of catechizing. Calvin produced a catechism upon his return to Geneva in 1541 which underwent two major revisions (1545 and 1560). Calvin's aim in writing the Catechism of 1545, was to set a basic pattern of doctrine and designed to serve as a pattern for what parents should teach their children. It began:
Master: What is the chief end of human life?
Scholar: To know God by whom men were created.