Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus

New here?

While we have several contributors, the blog’s primary owner is myself, Joel L. Watts. I am a happily married father of three, alive and well in the mountains of West Virginia. I have a few passions in my life. First, my family followed by all things Scripture. I love to read, to discuss, to analyze, to debate, argue and discourse. And, for some reason, I cannot shake politics, especially when it is connected to religion. I am also the author of two books, as you can see from my side bar. I have a third on the way.

I originally began to blog to correct the world and their foolish opinions about Christianity, but found myself facing challenges that I didn’t accept. When I did, it unsettled me. It unsettled my neatly trimmed Christianity, and set me on a course to my present position in life. I am a graduate from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. I attend, proudly, Christ Church United Methodist. While I may not lined up exactly with certain doctrines of the UMC, I have found great freedom to maintain my theological bent while working out my own salvation with God. Plus, I dig their justice stances.

Unsettled Christianity is a way to meet the challenges presented in our current world. From theological differences, cultural changes, and biblical studies, Christianity faces difficulties in remaining centered on Christ. Further, we have become too settled in this world, and in large ways, are experiencing a resurgence of modern-day Constantinism – pleading with the Government or other culture structures to give us peace and to cover us with their cloaks of protection! We settled for a seat at the table in post-modernity, when instead, we have a voice which should be at the door, heard loud and clear.

My Christianity has been unsettled due to biblical studies, theology, science, and culture. I am not secure in my Christianity, but my faith is more assured.

For no one can lay any other foundation than the one we already have–Jesus Christ. Now anyone who builds on that foundation may use gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15 NLT)

This blog started as a small and feeble attempt to rid myself of words and thoughts that needed expressed. It was my feeble attempt to do something for the Kingdom of God. It has grown beyond my original intentions. I will focus on doctrine, on helps, and of course on bringing you news that interest me. I like to study. I like to know. Further, I like to know why and what I study and what and why you study what, well, you study. I want to learn more about what I believe, and why I believe it; if I find that my beliefs need to be changed, I will change it. My writing is not the most developed because this is a blog. For me, it is about getting points across and maybe not always fully. But, again, it is a blog.

I enjoy a good debate and will often post things just for discussion. The one thing that I do not like is debating with the witless. Please do not come to a discussion with some special insight or revelation. I seek to engage atheists, agnostics, pentecostals, or any one really. Do not spam my comments to promote your site. That will not be allowed. More of that in the comment policy.

I am blogging to understand my faith and to defend the Faith. I enjoy deep theology, believing that if a theological precept cannot be proved by the Scriptures, it must be abandoned forthwith.

Please feel free to join in the conversation.

For Resources and Reviews, please see here.


77 Responses to “New here?”
  1. you are the church of christ? wrooooooooooooooooooooooooong! you are confused, and self-righteous!

  2. o.k.! what excatly are your beliefs? and do you believe jesus is the only way to get salvation?

  3. sorry for rushing to judgement! i didnt understand you! i looked at the doctrine, and it seems preety sound! god bless!

  4. Joel,

    Hi. I am a memeber of the Church of Jesus Christ in my area. I’ve sent you an email with some doctrinal questions.


  5. The email I sent came back as not deliverable. So I will post the questions here.


    Hi. You have an impressive blog here. I am Oneness Pentecostal (I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ in my area) and I have a few questions for you. You mentioned that you’re not Oneness Pentecostal. From what I can tell from your doctrine page, you hold a Oneness view. Here is, in very simplistic terms, the basic Oneness Pentecostal doctrine:

    There is one God.
    The one God of the OT was manifest in flesh to become our savior.
    Jesus is both God and man. As God, he is the one God. As man, he is the Son of God.
    Salvation is to repent, be baptized in Jesus name, and be filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
    We must live a holy life.
    The Bible is the Word of God.
    You can see more about what I believe on my site, but this is the basics.

    Do you agree with these doctrines? You can email me if you’d rather not discuss it here (use the contact page on my site). If these are your doctrines I will place a link on my site. Fill free to delete or edit this post if you’d rather not discuss these doctrines here.


  6. I know that my husband Christian enjoys your blog. You have an interesting take on things. Keep writing.

  7. Hi I can't find a better place to send you a message, so here it is!
    Just want to thank you for taking Ed Kwan and his Holy Spirit's Workshop to task. I know I'm a bit slow on the uptake as you blogged about them ages ago, but a member of my family is a good friend of Ed's and has been attending HSW for almost a decade now. He's old enough to know better, so I'm not concerned for him.
    But I was really glad to find that someone has put their false teaching in the spotlight. For a long time I thought they just had a preference for some sort of Pentecostal expression for their faith and a wobbly eschatology. But I have been reading Ed's posts for some time now and realize that between the long list of laws, the downplaying of original sin (not sure if they even believe in the concept), low view of Scripture, the internalising of all aspects of faith and accountability, and barely a courteous nod towards the finished redeeming work of Christ, his 'theology' is really just driven by pride.
    Reading Ed's ideas about how a display of power is the key for Christians to win people into the Kingdom (of God or Heaven – Ed divvies it all up into little categories), seems to me that they're trying to become Jedi, not godly!
    I hope that comments on your blog reach some of the congregations in Africa and SE Asia, where HSW influence has reached.
    Good on ya

  8. Thank you, Kate!!!!! I hope and pray that others who have been affected by Ed will wake up

  9. Do you believe that the only evidence for receiving the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues?

    • Marijo,

      ‘Receiving the Holy Spirit’ is a doctrinal stance all to itself. Do I believe that we you are saved, you must speak in tongues, or rather, the doctrine of initial evidence? No

      • Why, can you give me the scriptures for your thoughts?

        • Because, baptism is what saves, according to 1st Peter 3. Further, in 1st Cor. Paul sees tongues as a gift – I believe that as well – but so too in Acts 8, when the Spirit is given, where is the tongues?

          • AnthonyB says


            I like what I’ve read of your posts.

            People are entitled to their views but 1 Cor 12:30 was always my stumbling block to being Pentecostal (despite attending an AOG church for about 3 years). Also if it is lifted to be the central demonstration of genuine discipleship, it seems odd that it didn’t get a mention in the “great commision”.

            Baptism is clearly linked to be a normal part of a faithful response of faith in Christ.

          • Amen, Anthony. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I think you are correct.

        • Because, baptism is what saves, according to 1st Peter 3. Further, in 1st Cor. Paul sees tongues as a gift – I believe that as well – but so too in Acts 8, when the Spirit is given, where is the tongues?

  10. Love4theword says

    I notice you don’t like the strand study bible. What study bible would you recommend as the best out there? love4theword@gmail.com

    • If you are Reformed, there is the ESV. The NLT Study Bible is excellent for various reasons. The New Oxford Annotated Study Bible is academic, but overall, a great study bible as well.

  11. “I originally began to blog to correct the world and their foolish opinions about Christianity, but found myself facing challenges that I didn’t except.”

    Did you mean for the last word of this sentence to be “expect” instead of “except”?

    • No, not really. I didn’t accept those challenges at first. Or at all. When I did accept those challenges, it unsettled me in my then doctrine.

      But, more than likely, in the, um ‘editing’, except, expect and accept got a little confused 😉

    • You all should be very careful how you use the word “fool”

      Jesus said:
      Mat 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

  12. I wonder if Joel loves cats. just a thought. Most bloggers usually blog with cats on their laps and a bowl of porridge by their elbow -so says a good imaginary friend called Jim.

  13. A quote from you Joel:
    “I originally began to blog to correct the world and their foolish opinions about Christianity, but found myself facing challenges that I didn’t accept.”

    A quote from Jesus:
    Mat 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

    Your own tongue condemns you more than once Joel. It is time for you to examine yourself and seek the will of GOD rather than your own.

  14. Hi Joel. Just letting you know I read your About page.

  15. Hi Joel! You are currently subscribed to my blog: the Pangea Blog. I am changing servers and you will have to resubscribe here: http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=thepangeablog .

    Sorry for any inconvenience! Blessings!!!!

  16. I just came across your page via a link from the “Hard-line Moderate Musings” page. Here’s a link to my page, if interested. All the best to you all!
    Under the Mercy,
    British North America Freedom
    Psalm 133 (Ecce Quam Bonum!)

  17. “Timothy, you might come off better if you didn’t judge period.” Wow, is that not the pot calling the kettle black?

  18. #41, Admin, you sure have nailed ole Joel about his self-righteousness. His head must command at least a 20 gallon hat.

    • Nice name change, Glen (dishonest), but if you want to participate in the conversation, you may wish to understand the conversation. ‘Admin’ was a spammer and one who was stealing others’ work. It was dealt with accordingly.

  19. I have just found your blog/site and I will be reading your blog and getting caught up. You sound like me a long time ago. Check out my blog (read the monthly’s starting with march so that you’ll read my whole testimony interwoven) and if you would like to have me as a guest blogger or use any of my blogs, let me know and I’ll be glad to pass my permission.
    God bless,
    Rev. Keith

  20. We have started a Website called there-is-no-plan-b.com. It encourages believers to leave their money to us in the event they are taken to Heaven by God.

  21. A Friend says

    Saw your article on Raffaele Bendandi and thought this might interest you.

    Please twitter it or link it to your Facebook if you approve.

    Keep up the good work!

    Raffaele Bendandi Got It Right After All

  22. Hallo Joel,

    I’ve tried to connect with you. I am a minister in South Africa. Your website has proven very valuable to me.
    I participated in a Conversation with the Emerging Group and was exposed to the likes of ,Brian Maclaren, Erwin Macmannus, Rob Bell, Leonard Sweet, Ron Martoia and George Barna, during their visitations to South Africa.They have established a considerable following amongst the leading church leaders and faith communities and have a great influence.
    I have found their teachings insightful BUT am gravely concerned that contained within it there are subtle deceptions. I’ve just finished Rob Bell’s book “Love Wins” and found that there is a deliberate ‘avoidance’ of fundamental truths; reality of hell, judgement…

    I underscore your believes and convictions that God is One and is revealed in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour!

    I would like to converse with you on a personal basis if that is at all a possibilty.

    Your posts are thought-provoking and insightful.


  23. Congratulations, your blog is excellent! A best translation into spanish from comment policy : “Si eres un visitante de idioma español, y deseas dejar tu comentario, siéntete libre en hacerlo. Haré el mejor esfuerzo en traducirlo”

  24. Herman Cummings says

    At http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-zimmerman, a person named Michael Zimmerman has an
    article titled “Creationism, Science, And The Purpose Of Higher Education”. Dr. Michael Zimmerman, founder of the Clergy Letter Project, writes that he encourages students to “make wise choices, both academically and socially, and to think about ways to play leadership roles in their community.” Is Dr. Zimmerman an advocate of truth?

    The remainder of this commentary was submitted as a rebuttal, and as a comment to Dr. Zimmerman’s article. It would be interesting to see if the Huffington Post will publish it.

    Why is it that those 13,000 “religious infidels” would sign that Clergy Project Letter, and refuse to examine the truth of Genesis? I’m not talking about the junk that Creation Science and current “old Earth” creationism teaches. I am speaking of the “Observations of Moses”, which is the correct opposing view to the evolution theory.

    Why is it that the Texas School Board would accommodate the Discovery Institute, who doesn’t know the truth of Genesis, and that same school board ignores the Genesis expert who offered to show them the correct interpretation of chapter one? Just like all of the state of Louisiana, they failed to respond. Because of that, the truth is still not known. Both the Clergy and academia are hiding the truth from the students. What they would be teaching is a misrepresentation of what Moses wrote.

    So what is their true purpose? It is not to teach the students the truth about the advent and extinction of prehistoric life forms. Their purpose is to add confusion to the curriculum, and to deny the authenticity of the Bible.

    Tell you what, Dr. Zimmerman. You want the people to know the truth of this matter? Why don’t you get your facility to host the 64 minute PowerPoint presentation of the “Observations of Moses”. Not only will you expose the foolishness of both Focus on the Family and Stephen Meyer, but also the creationist clowns of “young Earth” and “old Earth” doctrines.

    You want the truth? Then put your money where your mouth is, else you just as much an anti-realist as those you wrote of.

    Herman Cummings

  25. Graham Frederic RUSHFORTH says

    I would like to purchase NT Wrights DVD on The Problem of Evil for our Bible Study Group here inEngland.Can you please tell;l me how I go about this ?

  26. Joel,

    I am new to this blog. I came over here from another blog where you posted something.

    I wanted to make contact and just say that my Great great great Grandfather was a Methodist Preacher who was on the first team they sent to Pasadena California to establish a church group there. He must have been a part of that when the Church of the Nazarene came into existence? Are you familiar with that and what happened?

    • Not sure, really, but the Nazarenes did come from the Methodists.

      • Are you a Methodist Minister?

        • I am not. I am a United Methodist, and I was a former minister in a Fundamentalist church… but not a UM minister. I am, however, attempting to become what they call a Lay Minister. Not really a minister like pastor or deacon, but it does the job, I guess. You?

  27. Joel,

    I am not sure why this posted in another thread above? I am just repeating it here:

    I am new to this blog. I came over here from another blog where you posted something.
    I wanted to make contact and just say that my Great great great Grandfather was a Methodist Preacher who was on the first team they sent to Pasadena California to establish a church group there. He must have been a part of that when the Church of the Nazarene came into existence? Are you familiar with that and what happened?

  28. Joel,

    yes I am a Minister.

    I am not pastoring a local Church. We believe in plurality of elders and ministers. We are Reformed in nature and substance. We have a presiding elder or pastor. The buck stops with him, not me. That is more of a legal conforming reality so as to keep our IRS status and keep the orderly civil business of managing our affairs as a church group. Someone observed and I believe it that if you have more than one head on the shoulders of a church body, you have a freak! 🙂

    I attended a United Methodist Church in Freetown, Sierra Leone on a number of occasions during the 1990’s just out of shear desire for fellowship when I was there.

    I attended group meetings with pastors and ministers in Accra, Ghana when I was over there ministering.

    I cannot say I am deeply familiar with the United Methodist Church.

    I remember attending a “round table” with about 20 plus pastors and ministers in Washington D.C. area back in the early 1990’s. That was interesting. There were several United Methodist ministers that attended that conference.

    Why did you cross over, giving up being a Minister in one organization to become a member of the United Methodists now?

    It is wonderful though to hear you are pressing into some level of ministry, “lay” as you say. That’s noble and honorable as we read about the desire for a man to become an Elder/overseer/servant of the Lord/deacon in some capacity:

    1Ti 3:1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.

    Christ is the Head of His Body. Each of us have been given some measure of Faith and Grace to serve Him. Sometimes that calls for hands on with the lambs and sheep of that particular pasture.

    At the end of the day, we shall gather, by His power, to His banquet table and feast, eating and drinking in the Glorious Presence of the Lord!

  29. I wonder if you have ever read any Ivan Illich, particularly the book The Rivers North of the Future, in which he argues, quite brilliantly, that the best way to understand Western society is as a corrupt version of the New Testament. “The corruption of the best is the worst,” is how he sums things up. It’s worth a look.

    There is a worthy review here:


  30. Robert Quezada says

    very very interesting blog.

  31. Joel

    I am familiar with you through Rodney’s comments on his blog. I noticed you have written a lot concerning atheism. I would like to seek your advice concerning some resources in this area. You should have access to my e-mail now so please contact me at your convenience.

  32. Pentheus says

    As a fellow INTJ and follower of Jesus Christ, I thought you might enjoy this database: http://goo.gl/8HC0Kv


  33. I think this blog is a wonderful idea! 😀

  34. Hello, Joel! Mike Morrell asked me to contact you because he really appreciates your blog and thinks you’d be an excellent candidate for his Speakeasy Blogger Network. Do you like to review off-the-beaten path faith, spirituality, and culture books? Speakeasy puts interesting books in your hands at no charge to you. You only get books when you request them, and it’s free to join. Sign up here, if you’d like: http://thespeakeasy.info

  35. I am just recently weighing on on the LGBT debate going on in the United Methodist Church and have just read an article about a scriptural stance you are intending to take with another gentleman on the positive side of this issue. I am most interested in learning your argument and scripture foundation when you are ready to present it.

  36. I mean those who are in favor of changing the statement in the Discipline to be inclusive and removing the statement that shows opposition to homosexuality. Perhaps better stated it would be the progressive position as opposed to the conservative or status quo position. If I read the article correctly you have worked with another person to develop a scripture based argument for inclusion. I am interested in your position and the scriptural foundation on which orbits based.

  37. I found an article on the Internet by Michael Gryboski saying that you and Christopher Tillman are working on a scripture based theological argument support
    the LGBT agenda in the Methodist church. I am interested in your thinking and in the scriptures you are basing your arguments on. I looked at the link you have me but was hoping for something more academic and more scholarly which I think from reading the lead-in to your web page you must have.

    • Genelle,

      one of the issues we have to deal with is “does Scripture condemn LGBT” to which I would answer no. Then, I show why Romans 1 is a faulty passage as well as the passage in 1 Co.

      Leviticus is a different animal altogether, of course.

      But, as far as an academic journal article, no – because that only defeats the attempt to reach conservatives who already view academia as the den of dragons. So I blog about it.

  38. The other mans name is Christopher Teidemann.

  39. He who thinks he knows does not know as he ought to know

  40. “Touch not my anointed” says the Lord. You slander Joseph Prince. Don’t look at the man (and the money) look at the message and the fruit. Are you so fruitful?

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