Profession of Faith

In the RCA, profession of faith happens when someone who has already been baptized, often at a young age, publicly professes their faith in Christ and joins the church. Upon public profession of faith, the individual becomes a confessing member of the church, rather than a baptized member, and is welcomed into full participatory privileges of the local congregation, such as voting and governance.

Typically, people who want to make profession of faith will work with their church’s elders to prepare for this step on their faith journeys. Some churches offer preparatory classes that review beliefs, creeds, catechisms, and confessions, ensuring that people understand what they believe and profess. Any individual who desires to make profession of faith will then meet with the board of elders for a time of questions and answers. Finally, the individual will make public profession of faith before the congregation.

Baptism and profession of faith are often paired together, typically for those who have not been baptized at a young age. Liturgiesorders of worship—are provided below, both as separate elements and as a combined order.

Have questions that aren’t answered here? Learn more about baptism or what it means to be a member of a church.

Background

While many religious traditions historically practiced confirmation and continue to do so today, sixteenth-century reformer Martin Luther proposed something different: a private pastoral act connected with education. Likewise, John Calvin called for the instruction in catechism and a profession of faith, and the age he suggested for this was ten years old. He provided no specific public rite or ceremony for this act because he likely feared that confirmation would devalue the sacrament of baptism.

Calvin believed that children should profess their faith publicly before being able to take communion. Today, many Reformed churches allow and encourage children to partake in the Lord’s Supper without requiring public profession of faith, but the idea remains that people of faith, both children and adults, should be ready to give clear testimony of their faith.

RCA Liturgy