On the 7 Sacraments of Romanism

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”

Mt. 28:19

“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread…”

1 Cor. 11:23

“Thus they provoked Him to anger with their inventions…”

Ps. 106:29




Anointing with Oil



Order of Contents

Articles  24+
Latin  16

Romanist Confirmation  1
Anglican Confirmation  10+
Baptist Confirmation  4
Biblios  8




Romanism has five more sacraments than protestants do: Confirmation, Penance, Marriage, Ordination and Extreme Unction (or a Last Anointing).  As Romanists can cite verses in the New Testament for each of these things (Acts 9:17; Lk. 3:8; Mt. 19:5-6; Acts 13:2-3; James 5:14), why are they not sacraments?

The reason is because a sacrament is “an holy ordinance instituted by Christ, wherein, by sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers.” (Westminster Shorter Catechism, #92)  While some of these other rites of the Romanists are ordinances, yet none of them were instituted by Christ (the Mediator of the New Covenant), none of them are signs or seals of the Covenant of Grace (representing Christ or his benefits) and some of them are even held in common with unbelievers.

As one would predict of Antichrist, he pretexts Bible verses, twists and perverts them, adds to them his own man-made traditions, and then sets them forth as of equivelent authority as the very sacraments that Christ actually instituted.  Where Romanism gets two of them right, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, yet she even so corrupts these as to greatly mar and deface them.

The standard reformed writings on these important subjects (not always easily found elsewhere), besides showing the Biblical reasons for why protestants are right and the Papal religion is wrong (for your greater benefit in making your way to Heaven), will greatly clear up modern confusion on these topics while very helpfully elucidating their true nature.  For instance:

 – As Romanism holds that in Confirmation the Holy Spirit is conferred to the youthful recipient through the continuing apostolic authority of the Church through their bishops, this being pretexted on verses in the Gospels and Acts, so protestants here assert and argue for Cessationism.

– In contrast to much modern confusion on marriage, even by the evangelicals, the protestants argued from Scripture and nature against Rome that the firm and habitual consent of a man and woman unto the institution of marriage in fact makes them married, and the Church and State are to recognize, confirm and enforce this.

This correct teaching will become more and more important as civil governments and churches misdefine marriage (as if they can prescriptively make it to be this or or that by their own fiat) and as it becomes more and more entangling and perilous for Christians to get marriage ‘licenses’.  See further our section, ‘Mutual Consent Makes a Couple Married’.

– Reformed Christians often hold that laying on of hands in ordination is a religiously symbolic, necessary rite that actually confers the authority of ordination.  See numerous classic reformed theologians argue against you, that laying on of hands is a natural symbol signifying who is being prayed for, that it is not necessary or even normative, and that it does not confer the authority of ordination; the consent of presbytery does.  See further our section, ‘What is the Nature of the Laying on of Hands, Who May do it & is it Essential, Efficient or Proper?’

– Romanists defend their practice of a priest anointing the dying and performing various superstitious rites in Extreme Unction on James 5:14.  While modern evanglical pastors often, in imitation of this verse, anoint sick Christians with oil, as if it were a Christian rite, a means of grace or a mystical sacrament, and Charismatics expect modern miracles of healing on demand out of it, see numerous historic reformed theologians argue that the oil was simply a cultural custom of refreshment, not necessary today, and argue, again, for Cessationism.  See also our section, ‘On Anointing with Oil’.

Take the time to read through some of these writings.  Become ‘mighty in the Scriptures’ (Acts 18:24); seek out the Lord’s precepts, more than for gold and riches; uphold and preserve the Lord’s teachings; pass them on to your children and make the Lord’s name great in this earth.





Zwingli, Ulrich – ‘The Other Sacraments’  in Commentary on True & False Religion  eds. Jackson & Heller  (1525; Labyrinth Press, 1981), pp. 256-60

Calvin, John – bk.4, ch. 19, ‘Of the Five Sacraments, Falsely so Called.  Their Spuriousness Proved & their True Character Explained’  in Institutes of the Christian Religion  trans. Henry Beveridge  (1559; Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1845)

Vermigli, Peter Martyr – The Common Places…  (d. 1562; London, 1576/1583)

pt. 2, ch. 10, ‘The Seventh Precept’, section 63, p. 462

pt. 4, ch. 8, ‘Of Repentance, where also is Treated of Sacraments’, pp. 208-211

Appendix, ch. 7, ‘Of Sacraments, & Namely of Circumcision’, section 4, p. 99

Musculus, Wolfgang – V. ‘Of the Number of the Sacramental Signs of the New Testament’, pp. 273a – 275b  ToC  in Common Places of the Christian Religion  (London, 1563)

Jewel, John – ‘Of the Number of the Sacraments’ to the end of the book  in pt. 2 of Two Treatises: I. On the Holy Scriptures; II. On the Sacraments  (Oxford: Parker, 1840), pp. 118-251

Jewel was a Calvinistic Anglican.

Brès, Guy de – The Staff of Christian Faith Profitable to all Christians…  (1577)

‘That There is but Two Sacraments in the Church of Jesus Christ’

‘Of Confession to God, & of Auricular Confession’

Bres (1522-1567) was a Walloon pastor, a Protestant reformer and theologian, and a student of Calvin and Beza in Geneva.

Beza, Theodore – Question 87, ‘That there are Only Two Sacraments of the Christian Church’  2 pp.  in The Other Part of Christian Questions & Answers, which is Concerning the Sacraments  (London, 1580)

Bullinger, Henry

pp. 246-249  of Sermon 6  in The Decades of Henry Bullinger…  trans. H.I.  (Parker Society, 1852), 5th Decade  Bullinger discusses at length what constitutes a sacrament throughout the whole chapter.

Questions of Religion Cast Abroad in Helvetia [Switzerland] by the Adversaries of the Same, and Answered by H. Bullinger of Zurich, Reduced into 17 Common Places  trans. John Coxe  (London, 1572)

pp. 83-4  of 9th Common Place, ‘Of Sacraments’, 38th Question

13th Common Place, ‘Of Repentance & Confession’  See specifically the 50th Question, pp. 110-113

14th Common Place, ‘Of the Authority or Power of Priests’

15th Common Place, ‘Of Matrimony, Vows & Chastity’

16th Common Place, ‘Of Extreme Unction, Called ‘Enoyling”

Ursinus, Zechariah – 2nd Part, ‘Of Sacraments’, 11. ‘How Many Sacraments there are of the New Testament’, pp. 707-708  in The Sum of Christian Religion…  (Oxford, 1587)

Students of Geneva – 57. ‘Principles Touching the Number of the Sacraments of the New Testament’  in Propositions & Principles of Divinity Propounded & Disputed in the University of Geneva by Certain Students of Divinity there, under Mr. Theodore Beza & Mr. Anthony Faius…  (Edinburgh, 1591), pp. 169-72

Willet, Andrew – Synopsis Papismi, that is, ‘A General View of Papistry’  (1592)

Controversies on the Sacraments, 3rd Question, ‘Of the Number & Order of the Sacraments’, pp. 422-425

Controversies of the 5 Other Popish Sacraments, pp. 501-553

14, ‘Of Popish Penance’
15. ‘Of Matrimony’
16. ‘Of Confirmation, Orders, Extreme Unction’



Bucanus, William – 46th Common Place, ‘Of the Sacraments in General…’, ‘How many Sacraments are thereof the Christian Church?’  in Institutions of Christian Religion...  (1602; London, 1606), pp. 676-677

Bucan (d. 1603) was a professor of divinity at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Attersoll, William – The Badges of Christianity, or a Treatise of the Sacraments Fully Declared out of the Word of God…  (London, 1606), bk. 1, pp. 73-106

ch. 16, ‘Of the Number of Sacraments’

ch. 17, ‘That Confirmation is Not a Sacrament’

ch. 18, ‘That Popish Penance is No Sacrament’

ch. 19, ‘That Matrimony is Not a Sacrament’

ch. 20, ‘That Orders are No Sacrament’

ch. 21, ‘That Extreme Unction is No Sacrament’

Du Moulin, Pierre – 35th Article, ‘Of the Number of Sacraments’  in The Buckler of the Faith: or a Defense of the Confession of Faith of the Reformed Churches in France, Against the Objections of M. Arnoux the Jesuit, wherein All the Principal Controversies between the Reformed Churches & the Church of Rome are Decided  (London, 1620), pp. 375-461  For a detailed table of contents to this lengthy section, see the table of contents to the whole volume.

Rivet, Andrew – 47. ‘On the Five False Sacraments of the Papists’  in Synopsis of a Purer Theology: Latin Text & English Translation  Buy  (1625; Brill, 2016), vol. 3, pp. 306-72

Wolleb, Johannes – ch. 22, ‘Of the Seals or Sacraments…’, section VI, pp. 187-90  in Abridgment of Christian Divinity  (1626), pp. 

Leigh, Edward – Section IX, ‘The Sacraments of the New Testament are Only Two’, pp. 659-661  of bk. 8, ch. 7, ‘Of the Sacraments’  in A System or Body of Divinity…  (London, 1654)

Anon. – The Anatomy of Popery, or a Catalogue of Popish Errors in Doctrine & Corruptions in Worship, Together with the Agreement between Paganism, Pharisaism & Popery  (London, 1673), ch. 1, pp. 131-143

Their Errors Concerning Marriage set down by Bishop Downhame
Their Errors Touching Extreme Unction
Their Errors Touching Order
Their Errors Concerning Confirmation

Rijssen, Leonard – Controversy 2, ‘Are there are only two sacraments: baptism and the holy Supper? Or are there seven? We affirm the former and deny the latter against the Papists.’  in ch. 17, ‘The Sacraments’  in A Complete Summary of Elenctic Theology & of as Much Didactic Theology as is Necessary  trans. J. Wesley White  MTh thesis  (Bern, 1676; GPTS, 2009), pp. 226-27

Sylvester, Matthew – sermon 21, ‘There are but Two Sacraments Under the New Testament’  in Puritan Sermons at Cripplegate  (London: Thomas Tegg, 1844), vol. 6, pp. 427-53

Sylvester was an English puritan.

Turretin, Francis – Institutes of Elenctic Theology, tr. George M. Giger, ed. James Dennison Jr.  (1679–1685; P&R, 1994), vol. 3, 19th Topic

3. ‘What is the nature of the sign required in a sacrament?’  345

31. ‘Are confirmation, penance, orders, marriage and extreme unction true sacraments?  We deny against the Romanists.’  548



à Brakel, Wilhelmus – ch. 38, ‘The Sealing of the Believer…’, ‘The Number of Sacraments’  in The Christian’s Reasonable Service, vol. 2  trans. Bartel Elshout  (1700), pp. 484-85

Willard, Samuel – Sermon 231, Question 93, ‘Which are the Sacraments of the New Testament’  in A Complete Body of Divinity in 250 Expository Lectures on the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism  (d. 1707; 1726)

Willard was a New England puritan.

Pictet, Benedict – Ch. 4, ‘The Sacraments in General & the Eucharist in Particular’  in The Roman Catholic Religion Examined, & its Errors Refuted  (d. 1724; London), pp. 27-31

Pictet (1655–1724) was the professor of theology at Geneva after Francis Turretin.



ed. Gibson, Edmund & John Cumming – A Preservative Against Popery, in Several Select Discourses upon the Principal Heads of Controversy Between Protestants & Papists, being written & Published by the Most Eminent Divines of the Church of England, Chiefly in the Reign of King James II [1685-88]  (London, 1848), vol. 8, ‘The Popish Doctrine Concerning the Sacraments Confuted’

Bk. 1, ‘The Number & Nature of Them in General’

I. ‘No Catholic Tradition for Seven Sacraments’, pp. 98-134  Dr. Stillingfleet

II. ‘The Texts Examined which Papists Cite out of the Bible for the Proof of their Doctrine Concerning the Seven Sacraments & the Efficacy of Them’, pp. 134-168  Mr. Gee

Bk. 2, ‘The Pretended Sacrament of Extreme Unction’

‘A Discourse Concerning the Pretended Sacrament of Extreme Unction, with an Account of the Occassions and Beginnings of it in the Western Church’, pp. 214-320  Dr. Clagett

Bannerman, James – Pt. 3, Division 2, Subdivision 4, ch. 1, section 1, ‘Differences Between the Sacraments & Non-Sacramental Ordinances’  in The Church of Christ…  (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1868), pp. 15-20

Hodge, Charles – ch. 20, ‘The Means of Grace’, section 3, ‘The Number of the Sacraments’  in Systematic Theology  (NY: Charles Scribner, 1872), vol. 3, pp. 492-497

Dabney, Robert L. – Lecture 61, ‘The Sacraments’, section 5, ‘But Two New Testament Sacraments.  Rome has Seven.’  in Syllabus & Notes of the Course of Systematic & Polemic Theology  (St. Louis: Presbyterian Publishing Co. of St. Louis, 1878), pp. 732-36

Heppe, Heinrich – ch. 24, ‘Sacraments in General’, section 30, ‘Regarding the Number of the Sacraments…’  in Reformed Dogmatics  ed. Bizer, trans. Thomson  (d. 1879; 1950; Wipf & Stock, 2007), pp. 609-610

Heppe block quotes Rijssen.





Aretius, Benedict – 6th Place, ‘Of the Number of the Sacraments’  in Examination of Theology: A Brief and Clear, Written Out Method  (Morgiis, 1584), pp. 115-119

Szegedin Pannonius, Stephan – Common Places of Pure Theology, of God & Man, Explained in Continuous Tables & the Dogma of the Schools Illustrated  (Basil, 1585/93)  The work is in the form of outlines.  Szegedin (1515-1572) also was known as Stephan Kis.

3. Of Popish Doctrine

Sacraments in General 481
Discrimination & Division of Sacraments 482
Baptism 483
Mass, or the Supper 484
Confirmation 485
Extreme Unction 485
Priesthood, or Ordination 486
Penance 489
Contrition 490
Oral Confession 490
Satisfaction 491
Marriage 492



Piscator, Johannes – Theological Theses, vol. 2  (Herborn, 1606-1607)

14. Of the Number of the Sacraments
15. Of Baptism
16. Of the Holy Supper of the Lord
17. Of the Words of the Lord’s Supper, ‘This is my body’, and ‘This is my blood’
18. Of the Papal Mass
19. Of the Sacrament which they call Penance, where it is displayed that Penance is not a Sacrament
20. Of the Falsely-Named Sacrament, Extreme Unction

Tilen, Daniel – 58. ‘Of the Sacraments, Disputation 4, which is on their Number’  in An Ordered Arrangement of Theological Disputations held in the Academy of Sedan, vol. 2  (1607, 1611), pp. 668-83  Tilen  (1563-1633)

Pareus, David – Collection 9, ’40 Disputations on the Controversies of the Jesuit Cardinal, Robert Bellarmine’  in Theological Collections of Universal Orthodox Theology, where also All of the Present Theological Controversies are Clearly and Variously Explained  (1611/20)  Pareus (1548-1622)

vol. 1

Collection 2, Disputations

47. ‘Of the Five Falsely Named Sacraments of the Papal Church’  384
48. Marriage  392
.          Note out of Thomas: What Promise Makes or does
.                not Make Marriages  400


vol. 2, Collection 9, Contra Bellarmine

21. Of the Effect, Difference & Number of the Sacraments  498
22. Of the Sacrament of Baptism & of Confirmation  503
23. Of the Eucharist  510
24. Of the Possibility of the Presence of the Body of
.       Christ under the Appearance of the Eucharist  515
25. Of the Substance, Rite, Effect, Integrity & Veneration of
.       the Sacrament of the Eucharist  520
26. Of the Mass  525
27. Of the Pseudo-Sacrament of Penitence  530
28. Of Indulgences, Extreme Unction, Ecclesiastical Order
.       & Matrimony  536

Hommius, Festus – 70 Theological Disputations Against Papists  (Leiden, 1614)

43. Number, Effects & Ceremonies of the Sacraments  262
44. Baptism  267
45. Baptismal Ceremony  273
46. Confirmation  277
47. Supper of the Lord  281
48. Right Use & Effects of the Lord’s Supper & the Communion Under Both Kinds  289
49. Mass  296
50. Penitence  305
51. Oral Confession & of Satisfaction  311
52. Indulgences & of Release [Iubilaeo]  318
53. Extreme Unction & of the Order  326
54. Marriage  332

Scharp, John – 36. ‘Of the Five Spurious Sacraments’  in A Course of Theology, in which all the Dogmas & Controversies of Faith agitated in this generation between us and Papists are handled one by one and the arguments of Bellarmine are responded to  (Geneva, 1620), vol. 1, cols. 1523-1574

Alsted, Johann Heinrich – Polemical Theology, Exhibiting the Principal Eternal Things of Religion in Navigating Controversies  (Hanau, 1620; 1627)  Alsted (1588-1638)

Sacraments in General  465
Baptism & Confirmation  475
Sacrament of the Eucharist & the Sacrifice of the Mass  483
Penitence & Indulgences  502
The Three Other Sacraments: Extreme Unction, Ordination & Matrimony  513

Chamier, Daniel

Panstratiae Catholicae, or a Body of the Controversies of Religion Against the Papists, vol. 4 (Sacraments)  (Frankfurt, 1627-1629)

Book 4, Of the Number of the Sacraments, of Confirmation, of Penance, of Extreme Unction, of Ordination, of Marriage  69
Book 5, Of Baptism  115
Book 6, Of the Eucharist & of the Elements  145
Book 7, Of the Adoration of the Eucharist  165
Book 8, Of Both Species: Catholic Arguments  197
Book 9, Papal Arguments  228

A Body of Theology, or Theological Common Places  (Geneva, 1653)  Chamier (1564–1621)

Bk. 7

ch. 9. Of the Number of Sacraments  387
.         Confirmation  388
.         Repentance  389
.         Extreme Unction  392
.         Ordination  395
.         Marriage  397

Voet, Gisbert – Syllabus of Theological Problems  (Utrecht, 1643), pt. 1, section 2, tract 5   Abbr.

‘Of the Number of the Sacraments’
Appendix: Many Absurd & Inept Questions on the 5 False Sacraments

(1) On Penance

On Contrition of the Heart (Of the Object, Quality, Time, Adjuncts & Effect)
On the Confession of the Mouth (Of its Necessity, Nature, Quality, Effect, Seal & Reservation of Fallings, etc.)

(2) On Confirmation
(3) On Extreme Unction
(4) On Marriage
(5) Of Orders

Gomarus, Franciscus – Disputation 39, ‘Of the Five False Sacraments of the Papists’  in All the Theological Works  (Amsterdam, 1644), vol. 2, Part 3, Part 1, Theological Disputations, pp. 152-155

Gomarus (1563-1641)

Forbes, John – bk. 9, ‘Of the Sacraments in General, where is of the Nature, Efficacy & Number of the Sacraments of the New Testament’, pp. 441-73  ToC  in Historical & Theological Instructions on Christian Doctrine, the Varied State of Things, on the Errors & Controversies that have Arisen…  (Amsterdam, 1645)

Revius, Jacobus – 331 Disputations of Compendious Theology, vol. 2  (1649), no page numbers  Revius (1586-1658)

172. Of False Sacraments, the first part, which is of Confirmation

173. The second part, which is of Confirmation, the next part

174. The third part, which is of Penance

175. The fourth part, which is of Extreme Unction

176. The fifth part, which is of Ordination

177. The sixth part, which is of Marriage

178. The seventh part, which is of Marriage, the next part

Leydekker, Melchior – 7. ‘Of the Five False Sacraments of the Papists’  in Bk. 6, ‘Of the Church, & of its Adjuncts & Ministry’  in A Synopsis of the Christian Religion  (Utrecht, 1689), pp. 438-445

Marck, Johannes à – ch. 29, ‘The Sacraments of the Covenant of Grace; in particular: Circumcision, Pascha & Ones Falsely Named as such from the New Testament’  in A Compendium of Christian Theology, Didactic & Elenctic  (Amsterdam, 1696; 1722), pp. 551-78

Marck (1656-1731)



Heidegger, Johann Heinrich – The Marrow of Christian Theology: an Introductory Epitome of the Body of Theology  (Zurich, 1713), ch. 25, ‘Of External Worship…’

7-8.  Of the Sacraments of the New Testament

30.  Of the Additional Rites of Baptism

49-50.  Of Transubstantiation
51-52.  Of the Bodily Presence
53-54.  Of the Mass
55.  Of the Adoration of the Host

57.  Of Bodily Chewing
58.  Of the Change of the Supper upon the Pronouncement [tesseram] in the Service
59.  Of the Spurious Sacraments, even of Confirmation
60.  Of Penance
61.  Of Extreme Unction
62.  Of Ordination
63.  Of Marriage

Rodolph, Johann R. – bk. 4, ch. 18, ‘Of the Number of the Sacraments’  in Christian Theology, Things of the Faith, or Things to be Believed about God & his Ways in the World & Church, under Diverse Temporary Economies  (Bern, 1714), pp. 509-515  Rodolph (1646-1718)



On Romanist Confirmation



Turretin, Francis – Institutes  (P&R), vol. 3, 19th Topic, ‘The Sacraments’

10. ‘Is a mark (i.e., a spiritual and indelible sign) impressed upon the soul in the three sacraments, baptism, confirmation and order?  We deny  against the Romanists.’  375

31. ‘Are confirmation, penance, orders, marriage and extreme unction true sacraments?  We deny against the Romanists.’  548



On Anglican Confirmation



Thomas Cartwright

On Mt. 19, section 9, quoted in George Gillespie, English-Popish Ceremonies (1637), pt.  3, ch. 6, p. 95

“And as touching this blessing of children and imposition of hands upon them, it is peculiar unto our Savior Christ: used neither by his disciples, nor his apostles, either before or after his ascension.  Whereunto makes that the children being brought, that He should pray over them, He did not pray for them, but blessed them, that is to say commended them to be blessed, thereby to shew his divine power. These being also yet infants, and in their swaddling clothes, as by the Word which the Evangelist uses, and as by our Savior Christs taking them into his arms, does appear; being also in all likelihood unbaptized.

Last of all, their confirmation is a notable derogation unto the holy sacrament of baptism, not alone in that it presumes the sealing of that which was sealed sufficiently by it: but also in that both by asseveration of words; and by specialty of the minister that gives it, it is even preferred unto it.”


George Gillespie

A Dispute Against the English-Popish Ceremonies…  (1637), pt. 3, ch. 4, p. 51-52

“The same kind of operative virtue is ascribed to the ceremony of confirmation or bishopping.  For the English Service Book teaches that by it children receive strength against sin, and against tentation.  And [Richard] Hooker has told us, that albeit the successors of the apostles had but only for a time such power as by prayer and imposition of hands to bestow the Holy Ghost, yet confirmation has continued hitherto for very special benefits; and that the Fathers impute everywhere unto it that gift or grace of the Holy Ghost, not which makes us first Christian men, but when we are made such, assists us in all virtue, arms us against tentation and sin.

Moreover, whiles he is a showing why this ceremony of confirmation was separated from baptism, having been long joined with it, one of his reasons which he gives for the separation is that sometimes the parties who received baptism were infants, at which age they might well be admitted to live in the family, but to fight in the army of God, to bring forth the fruits and to do the works of the Holy Ghost, their time of ability was not yet come, which implies that by confirmation men receive this ability, else there is no sense in that which he says.  What is idolatry if this be not to ascribe to rites of man’s devising the power and virtue of doing that which none but he to whom all power in heaven and earth belongs, can do?

And howbeit Hooker would strike us dead at once with the high-sounding name of the Fathers, yet it is not unknown that the first Fathers from whom this idolatry has descended were those ancient heretics, the Montanists, for as [Martin] Chemnitius marks out of Tertullian and Cyprian, the Montanists were the first who began to ascribe any spiritual efficacy or operation to rites and ceremonies devised by men.”




Cartwright, Thomas

‘To the next section in the 197th page’  in A Reply to an Answer made of Mr. Doctor Whitgift Against the Admonition to the Parliament  (1573), pp. 199-200

2nd Part, ch. 4, 2nd Part, ‘Of Confirmation of Children & Women’s Churching’  in The Rest of the Second Reply of Thomas Cartwright Against Master Doctor Whitgift’s Second Answer Touching the Church Discipline  (Basel, 1577), pp. 232-34



Calderwood, David

Perth Assembly...  ([Leiden, 1619]), pp. 87-95

‘Of Confirmation’

“Imposition of hands used in so diverse actions, civil and religious, was no sacrament…  it was only a simple rit and sign of limitation or restraint, specifying or setting forth the party on whom we desire God to pour his blessing: that is, it was only an indicant [indicator] and demonstrative sign of the person on whom the blessing was poured, and not a significant or declaratiue sign of the blessing or grace itself bestowed…

The confession of Wirtemburg has these words, ‘Of a temporal and personal fact of the apostles, a general and perpetual sacrament cannot be ordained in the Kirk without a special command of God.’” – p. 87

“The gesture of imposition of hands other reformed Kirks, and ours also, have omitted [in praying for youth being admitted to the Table]: because it was a rite indifferent: for it was but an indicant sign of the person admitted: and because it has been, and is still abused to make up a bastard sacrament, the sacrament of confirmation, which we have condemned, not only in the [Scottish] Confession of Faith, but also in the [2nd] Confession of Helvetia approved in the general assembly [of the Church of Scotland] holden at Edinburgh, anno 1566.” – p. 89

“Is not the Lord’s Supper the true sacrament of confirmation of our faith, as well as confirmation of charity?” – p. 91

‘Of Bishopping’

‘Of Confirmation’  in A Re-Examination of the Five Articles Enacted at Perth, Anno 1618…  ([Holland?] 1636), pp. 209-221


For Anglican Confirmation

Hall, Joseph – Cheirothesia, or, A Confirmation of the Apostolical Confirmation of Children, Setting forth the Divine Ground, End & Use of that too much neglected Institution…  (London, 1651)  84 pp.

Hall was a reformed Anglican and divine right epsiscopalian.





On Bucer

Steven Wedgeworth, ‘Martin Bucer: The Ecumenical Reformer’, p. 3

“The Anabaptists were a constant threat, and though Bucer [in Strasbourg] had no patience for their separatism, he was open to some of their views concerning the church and sacraments.  Under this influence, Bucer instituted the rite of confirmation, wherein children, upon reaching the age of reason, confirmed their faith, had hands laid on them by the pastor, and received their first communion.  This rite, it was believed, helped to reduce hypocrisy among the membership.”


Richard Muller

Dictionary of Greek & Latin Theological Terms

confirmatio: confirmation; a rite of the church viewed by the medieval doctors and by the Roman Catholic Church as a sacrament, but denied sacramental status by the Reformers and the Protestant scholastics on the ground that it does not rest on a command of God (see sacramentum).

Nevertheless, both the Lutheran and Reformed orthodox view confirmatio, rightly conceived and performed, as a useful and edifying support of piety. Children baptized in infancy should receive formal instruction in the faith when they have reached an age of discretion.  After this instruction they may come publicly before the bishop or pastor in order to make a profession of faith and receive the support of the church’s prayers and of the nonsuperstitious laying-on of hands.

Such a rite coincides with the teaching of Scripture and the ancient custom of the church. Since, moreover, it is an act of piety and edification and not a sacrament or means of grace, the Protestant scholastics note that it is in no way a completion of baptism.”



Baptist Works for a Baptist Confirmation of Believers


Chamberlain, Peter – A Discourse Between Captain Kiffin & Dr. Chamberlain about Imposition of Hands  (London, 1654)

The context of this document appears to have been amongst the sects in London during the mid-1650’s.  The parties distinguish themselves from the presbyterians.  They also mention that they at one time had discarded baptism (as some of the sects had done), though no longer. (p. 1)

Chamberlain argues for the imposition of hands in prayer with regard to all baptized believers, as a sort of confirmation, associated with the giving of the Holy Ghost.  Kiffin argues against it.

Grantham, Thomas

A Sigh for Peace, or, The Cause of Division Discovered, wherein the Great Gospel Promise of the Holy Ghost, & the Doctrine of Prayer with Imposition of Hands, as the way Ordained of God to Seek for it, is Asserted & Vindicated…  ([London] 1671)

Grantham (1634-1692) was an English general baptist.

The Fourth Principle of Christ’s Doctrine Vindicated, a Brief Answer to H. Danvers’ Book, intituled, A Treatise of Laying on of Hands, Plainly Evincing the True Antiquity & Perpetuity of that Despised Ministration of Prayer, with the Imposition of Hands for the Promise of the Spirit…  (London, 1674)

Keach, Benjamin – Darkness Vanquished: or, Truth in its Primitive Purity, being an Answer to a late book of Mr. Henry Danvers, entitled, A Treatise of Laying on of Hands. Wherein his mistakes & cloudy apprehensions about it, are in a faithful and friendly manner rectified, his grand obiections answered, & Imposition of Hands upon Baptised Believers, as such with Prayer for the Spirit of Promise is Proved, to be a Holy & Divine Institution of Jesus Christ, and Accordingly Practiced by the Apostles & Primitive Saints. Together with the Testimony of many Famous Writers, both Ancient, & of later times concerning it  (London, 1675)  39 pp.




Malcom, Howard – Theological Index...  (Boston, 1868)

‘Confirmation’, p. 120

‘Imposition of Hands’, p. 233

‘Auricular Confession’, p. 39

‘Penance’, p. 351

‘Absolution’, p. 13

‘Marriage’, pp. 286-7

‘Ordination’, p. 333

‘Extreme Unction’, p. 181




“And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her:”

Gen. 24:67

“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord…”

James 5:14

“Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance…”

Lk. 3:8




Related Pages


The Sacraments


The Lord’s Supper

On Penance

On Marriage



On Anointing with Oil

On Natural Gestures, Signs & Customs about Worship, & of Reverence & Veneration as Distinguished from the Worship of Adoration