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Katy Schumpert: 'My Path To Confessional Lutheranism' Series

Is Katy Schumpert your acquaintance, family member, friend (or "Friend" on Facebook or Twitter)?

Either way, please reach out to her to offer your prayers, encouragement, support, friendship, and thank her for taking the time to bare her soul and write this truly exceptional series about her very own personal journey from false doctrine and deception to becoming a Confessional Lutheran.

She hosts, manages, and writes for the Thoughts Inserted Here: A Confessional Lutheran Considers Things blog. Recently, she shared this message on Facebook to introduce the final installment in her 6-part series that documents where she's been spiritually to where she finds herself today, thanks to the Lord.

Over the last year, I have written a series of posts about how I came from liberal Lutheranism in the ELCA to confessional Lutheranism in the LCMS. As of today, I have finally finished this six-part series. (I just don't have the time to blog very frequently.) In this series, I talk about how I was involved in mysticism bordering on the occult, how I came very close to pursuing ordination (as a woman), how I was involved in some resistance groups within the ELCA (such as Lutheran CORE) leading up to and following the infamous 2009 Churchwide Assembly (which allowed homosexual clergy and blessing of same-sex "marriage"), and how, after many twists and turns, I finally found a pastor and congregation that actually believe the Bible is true and follow the Lutheran Confessions. Most importantly, this story is about how God rescued me from slavery to enthusiasm by the means of His Gospel. I am posting Part VI below, but I hope you will read the whole backstory as well, and feel free to share it with anyone who may be going through similar struggles and needs a little encouragement. Thanks for reading!

Honestly, I can't think of a better way to kick off 2015 here at A Lutheran Layman than to publish a series like this by another Lutheran layman.

Besides, I've shared my own story more than enough here and so I think it's good to know that there are other Christians out there who we can identify with by reading about their own unique challenges, struggles, and ups-and-downs and how the Lord continues to bring them through it all. It helps make my own journey seem a little less isolated and lonely too.

Anyway, here's the full 6-part series...

"My Path To Confessional Lutheranism" Series 
Part 1 
Part 2 
Part 3 
Part 4 
Part 5 
Part 6

Wasn't that just great? How many of you reading this right now can relate?

(FYI - My hand is raised way up in the air right now!)

I thought about including a section where I pulled all my favorite excerpts from all 6-parts, but I think this entry would turn into a small novella or pamphlet if I did that.

In other words, there's so much transparency and truth in this series that it's tough to isolate only a few poignant parts. Tell you what, here's one of the many statements she made that really resonated with me and my own unique situation at the moment: "I was sorry to lose their friendship, but I had to follow the truth where it led me, no matter how it made anyone feel." Please do yourself a favor and read it. When all is said and done, I hope you come away with a stronger realization that our confession of faith matters.

Sure, there was once a time when I thought that any and all denominations were the "problem" and that to be a "true" Christian I had to distance myself from them.

Wanna know the problem with that sort of thinking? Tragically, I ended up distancing myself from thousands of years of church history that was actually quite orthodox in its preaching and teaching! Remember, Jude 1:3? Yeah, well, I definitely didn't for many years.

I don't know Katy outside of interacting with her comments periodically in various Lutheran Groups on Facebook, but I do know now that we think alike particularly because we have such similar backgrounds as far as the manner in which we both become Confessional Lutherans and why.

Please be sure to join me in not only thanking her for putting herself out there so publicly, but for starting a blog and for writing a series like that, which I'm sure has helped (and will continue to help) many other Christians in similar journeys (John 6:44).

This series clearly demonstrates why our confession matters. As one Pastor noted on the importance of having an actual confession: "The Lutheran Confessions. A public witness to the world of our Biblical proclamation and faith. ... We need the Lutheran Confessions because a 'Theology of Experience' is not easily transferable."

In closing, I'd like to expand upon that just a bit if you don't mind.

We Need The Lutheran Confessions Because A Theology Of Experience Is Not Easily Transferable 
This past week I had a dialogue with a gentleman on Facebook over a theological topic. Part way through the discussion he asked me to define my position so that he could properly understand my context and perspective. I also asked him to define himself a little more thoroughly. Therefore, I took 2 minutes to type out a brief paragraph that was rooted in the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. To my surprise though, the gentleman did not give me a brief paragraph but a 5 minute Youtube video of a person giving their personal testimony. Long story short, I posted another question asking him to further clarify his position and he then responded with 4 more testimony Youtube videos. 
What was happening here? Whether this man knew it or not, he was finding it very difficult to communicate his theology in print because his theology was rooted in experience. In other words, his theological framework was rooted not in doctrinal content but primarily experience, which made it nearly impossible for him to transfer/communicate. This is the reason why he had to resort to presenting 5 testimony videos ranging in length from 6-8 minutes apiece. His hope was that I would capture the overarching spirit of approximately 30 minutes of videos, so that I might understand his theological context. 
Dan van Voorhis in a Faith Lutheran Church of Capistrano Beach Vimeo Presentation speaks on this saying,

“A theology of experience cannot be easily transmitted from generation to generation. Without an external set of beliefs, passing on the faith is extremely difficult and catechism is impossible.”

Carl R. Trueman in his small booklet, The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind,” also comments on this saying,

“Experience without doctrine is an unstable, often mystical, and wholly inadequate tool by which to define a movement. ‘To repent of sins,’ ‘to trust in Jesus for salvation,’ ‘to be born again’—the expressions used by evangelicals to describe conversion imply doctrinal content. But if there is no consensus about what repentance means or why it is necessary, about what constitutes sin or a sinful nature, about who Jesus was and is, about what Jesus did and does, and about what terms like ‘born again’ mean, then the problem of a lack of doctrinal coherence stubbornly remains. Experience without content—or experience about which there is no agreement on the meaning of the words used to describe it—remains incapable of proving any clear identity…”

It is very tempting to define our theology solely by what we experience as a Christian. The reason being, personal experiences grip us because we are, at times, captivated by the ethos embedded in these experiences. Furthermore, there is the pressure to exchange the supposedly dead, heady, and cold Lutheran Confessions for active, alive, tangible, and visible experiences; the words of Rick Warren echo throughout American Christianity, “We need deeds, not creeds.” However, as noted by Trueman and van Voorhis, experience is very unstable and inadequate to define, communicate, and transmit Christianity, especially when experience is void of doctrine. Furthermore, the reason why experience is not adequate to describe the church and her theology is that many people’s experiences will differ. Whose experience will the church be defined by and what means could be used to pass down subjective experiences to our children and grandchildren? Keep in mind that one’s experiences are closely tied to their working Ethics; Ethics depend on one’s worldview; one’s worldview rests on doctrine; and one’s doctrine rests on the Word of God. J. Darly Charles says, “Without a theological foundation, the church is utterly incapable of explaining, much less presenting, the outlines of Christian Ethics.”[1] 
Experience void of doctrine does not transfer easily, but the Confessions can be transmitted from generation to generation. Furthermore the Confessions are objective, external, time tested, grounded in the Word, and wonderful in shaping and forming every generation’s epistemology and worldview. Thus, there is a great need for us to be continually grounded in the Word and our Lutheran Confessions today and especially tomorrow. 
May our experiences be filled with content, Biblical content that is transferable, stable, and able to provide a clear picture of our identity in Christ.

“Feelings come and feelings go, And feelings are deceiving; My warrant is the Word of God– Naught else is worth believing. I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word Till soul and body sever, For, though all things shall pass away, His Word shall stand forever!” -Martin Luther
1] J. Darly Charles, The Unformed Conscience of Evangelicalism: Recovering the Church’s Moral Vision (InterVarsity Press, 2002), 71.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, may stories like this one from Katy encourage us to pray for the grace to remain steadfast in our confession and that we would remember our vow to “continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it” (LSB 273).

I'm extremely grateful to God for other layman who are willing to put themselves out there and confess their failings and sins and what it was that led them to repentance before finally arriving at "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).

Looking ahead to 2015, I hope to establish a more permanent residence upon the Wittenberg Trail after almost causing shipwreck to my faith (1 Timothy 1:19) from sailing the Works-Righteousness Waters of American Evangelicalism for far too long.

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

1 comment

  1. I just saw this today when I realized I'd gotten some traffic from your site. Thank you so much for your kind words and for publicizing my blog! I'm glad to know that it was helpful to you, and I hope it will be to others as well. Also, welcome to confessional Lutheranism; it sounds like you have found a home here, as have I. God's blessings to you as He continues to grow you in His Word!

    Katy Schumpert


Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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