Episode 47

November 14, 2023


Glimpses of the Gospel - JJ Routley

Hosted by

Erik Rasmussen
Glimpses of the Gospel - JJ Routley
The Concerning Him Podcast
Glimpses of the Gospel - JJ Routley

Nov 14 2023 | 00:22:24


Show Notes

Dr. JJ Routley comes back on the podcast to discuss his new book, Glimpses of the Gospel! 

Order the book here: https://emmausworldwide.org/pages/glimpsesofthegospel

Concerning Him -
Concerning Him Podcast -

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:04] Speaker A: Welcome to another episode of the concerning him podcast, brought to you by Emmaus Bible College. For more information on Emmaus, visit Emmaus.edu. For more information about concerning him. It's concerning him. Today we are joined once again by Dr. JJ Rowley. Welcome, JJ. [00:00:21] Speaker B: Thank you, Eric. Nice to be back on the podcast again. [00:00:24] Speaker A: It's nice to you. And I say, Doctor, big change. Last time you're on the podcast was March of 2022, which was like a year and a half ago, even more now, which that's not been because of me. I'll just say I would love to have you on the podcast more often, but big change in your life since the last time you were on. [00:00:45] Speaker B: Yeah. So I successfully defended my PhD dissertation in the summer of 2022 and so graduated from Columbia Biblical Seminary of Columbia International University with that PhD. [00:01:01] Speaker A: And the PhD was in theological studies. [00:01:05] Speaker B: Broadly, and then more specifically Trinitarianism and particularly the will of God as it relates to the Trinity. So how can there be one will in God? Will is a divine attribute within God, but then it distinctively relates to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Does this mean that the Father and Son have distinct wills from one another? How exactly does that relate? So the dissertation was on that specific topic. [00:01:40] Speaker A: Today's topic is maybe a little less heavy. [00:01:44] Speaker B: Maybe someday in the future get to that one. [00:01:47] Speaker A: Today's topic, not less important, but maybe a little less heavy. We're talking about your new book, Glimpses of the Gospel. [00:01:52] Speaker B: Yeah, that's right. Coming out later this week, just in time for Christmas. This Friday, November 17. [00:01:59] Speaker A: November 17. Where can people purchase it? [00:02:02] Speaker B: Probably the best place to get it is through Emmaus worldwide. So you can just go to, I believe it's emmausworldwide.org, and order that way, it will eventually be, I think it's up on Kindle through Amazon. It'll be purchasable through Amazon after Friday, I believe. [00:02:20] Speaker A: Okay. [00:02:20] Speaker B: And then bookstore sites across the. [00:02:26] Speaker A: Well, how. Maybe if we just start like a little over a year ago, maybe right around a year ago now, you sent me a text or an email or something. [00:02:36] Speaker B: Yeah. It was actually your fault. Was it all your fault, Eric? So this all started. I just want everybody to know this. We were at a professional development day, I think it was in October of 2022, and Eric had been asked to come in and talk about faculty involvement in the podcast and in some of the other media ministries of the college. And he made this little plug there. If anybody wanted to do any kind of podcasting or miniseries or something like, and it's all your fault. Because I got this idea floating around in my mind, like, oh, you should do something with, you know, Christmas is coming. Oh, you could do something with Christmas. And then I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I had to send Eric a text message, and one thing led to another, and boom, there it is. [00:03:29] Speaker A: So last November, we start meeting in this very room, actually, and recording an audio only podcast. We called it from Realms of. [00:03:37] Speaker B: It was the whole premise of this was to take primarily start with Old Testament promises of the Messiah, and then put it into something really bite size and manageable, because we know people are busy and don't have time sometimes to listen to, like 30 or 40 minutes or extended detail on a particular topic. But maybe if we could do something more devotional for five minutes to ten minutes, something like that, that it would be more accessible, people would benefit from it. And so that's what I started putting together, and we started recording together. And I think that podcast series was very well received. I got a lot of good feedback from people from a lot of different areas of the country, and even beyond that, had listened to that and were blessed by it. [00:04:34] Speaker A: Yeah. If people want to go out and listen that again this year, we walk through. You walk through. I should say not we. I was behind the microphone for this one. But you walk through every day of December leading up to Christmas with these shorter devotionals from realms of glory. If you just search for it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify or something like that, you'll be able to find it. I think we'll probably put this episode not only on the concerning him feed, but also from Realms of Glory Feed, in case anybody's still subscribed to it, they might see it pop up. But how did that podcast kind of turn into this book? [00:05:11] Speaker B: Yeah, what was that process like after we finished with it in December of last year, sometime in the spring, maybe January, February, something like that. I don't remember who exactly it was, but I had some advice from someone who said, you could really take that and maybe brush up those days of each of the days of December and make it a little more polished and put it into a devotional book that people might be able to benefit from. And so that's really what this book is. It's kind of the reworking, sometimes taking what had been made for radio for podcast, and putting it into written form. So I started talking with Emmaus worldwide in the spring of this past year. They've been wonderful to work with in that regard and just taking the audio messages and slowly going back through those and maybe expanding them at times, maybe adding some detail, maybe taking out some detail in some instances and trying to make it in something that's really accessible for a wide variety of audiences. One of the things I'm really excited about with this is I think this can be something that's used by families as family devotionals. It can be something that's used personally for Bible study, your own personal Bible study. I've even heard of some bigger Bible studies or even churches that are thinking about getting copies and either giving them out to their congregation, giving them to the families in their congregation, or doing this together as a group Bible study during the Christmas season. And that's just so wonderful for me to hear. That's really what I hope will be done with this, that it could be of great blessing, both for the Church and for those who are not yet believers to be reading through some of this as well. [00:07:21] Speaker A: Tell me about kind of the heart behind the 25 different devotionals. What's your focus? What are you trying to do? [00:07:29] Speaker B: Yeah, so it starts off again just as the audio series did, really, in the Old Testament. And actually, I think the first week's worth of devotionals are mostly in the Book of Genesis, believe it or not. So promises of the Messiah that come from the Old Testament, from the books of Moses. And I think a lot of times we're familiar with some of the passages that are around Christmas. So Isaiah, chapter seven and Isaiah, chapter nine, and some of these. But we might not have ever, as followers of Christ, gone into great depth or detail about the way exactly it relates to the coming of Christ, both in his first advent and also at his second coming. And so that's one of the major themes of the book is Advent then and advent in the future, that there is a future coming of Christ. And so we who are part of the Church of Christ today, are really in some ways longing just as much for the coming of Christ once again from heaven. So probably the first two weeks worth of devotions, and there's, I should say, one devotion for every day of December, starting from December 1 through December 25. So it will take you right through leading up to Christmas and on Christmas Day. And the devotional on Christmas Day is a little bit more extended to share with a family, things like that. So we start off looking at some of the key messianic promises in the Old Testament, and then we see how those relate to in the third and fourth weeks, the coming of Christ in the Gospels and start to focus in on the birth narratives that are in Matthew and Luke particularly. And it ends in the Gospel of John with sort of the theological presentation of the word becoming flesh and making his dwelling among us. [00:09:44] Speaker A: So I was going to ask, do you get much into the life of Christ, or are you really just looking at the Incarnation and working towards the birth? [00:09:53] Speaker B: Yeah, this deals. It's an interesting question. It does deal with the character of the Messiah, some of the things that the Messiah would come to accomplish. And in the book, I go into this detail as well. I'm using Messiah as a synonym for Christ. Both of the terms, just Hebrew and Greek terms that refer to the King, the coming anointed one, who was anticipated all the way back from Genesis, chapter three, all the way through the entirety of the Biblical text. So in that regard, I don't focus in on the life of Christ per se, as in going into depth in some of the Gospel passages. But in the Old Testament texts, we absolutely look at the promises regarding who Christ would be, what he would be like, what he would do, what his character would be like, and how we see that accomplished in the life of Christ and in the coming of Christ. [00:10:59] Speaker A: What was the process like both when you were writing the initial kind of podcast episodes for Realms of Glory, and then when you're revising and editing for this on yourself, of writing a book like this? I'm very curious about that. [00:11:14] Speaker B: Yeah, I think in the initial stages, so I kind of judge everything by how many pages length it ends up being. And in the audio messages, I really was only writing about a page, a page and a half. This is my problem. This is public confession time. I always give more than I should probably. I always end up, if I'm asked to give a 30 minutes message with 35 minutes or 40 minutes message, 45 minutes. If you ask me to write 500 words, I'll give you 600 words. So I kind of set a goal for myself of just writing about a page worth of material for each of these in the audio sessions. And very quickly I realized. So usually I would do this late afternoons, after all classes were done, just before I was to go home for the day or the other time that I usually do. A lot of work is late at night after everybody's gone to bed. That's just a force of habit for me. So sometimes it would be just one of those particular times. And I should say also, I had already done kind of something like this a few years ago for my own personal blog at a Christmas time, maybe five or six years ago, I just thought it would be really fun to kind of write down a couple of paragraphs on each of the passages that relate to Christ in the Old Testament as they relate to Christmas. So I had all of this kind of floating around in my mind and scripted it all out. And very quickly I realized, sit down to write one page, and before I know it, I've got two pages. So it was already in there, all floating around. And not all writing projects are like that for me. Some of them are really like you sit down to write and every sentence is just difficult to kind of formulate. But this one was really easy. Everything came out quickly, and then to go back and revise was not difficult from that point, just kind of taking it and taking out some of the wording that's more beneficial for audio messages and instead using a different person, different tenses and that sort of thing. I had a number of people assist in reading through different parts of it for me, and so that was really helpful as well. This ended up being not just my project, but a number of other people that contributed to it as well. [00:14:00] Speaker A: So within Christianity, there are maybe some different opinions on Christmas. I'm not going to ask you to get into that and defend it right now, don't worry. But I am wondering, obviously we can tell by doing a podcast writing a book. We understand generally where your thoughts would be as far as Christians and celebrating Christmas. But what would be the benefit to something like this for the Christian and celebrating Christmas and thinking about Christ's birth? [00:14:31] Speaker B: Yeah, great question. So I think the real benefit, let me give you two from what I'm hoping as an author, my heart behind writing and what I'm hoping this will emphasize for people. The first comes out, I think, in the title, glimpses of the Gospel. It really has a very evangelistic focus and thrust to it. So I wanted to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ as clearly as I possibly could. And I've really sought to do that in this book, utilizing a number of different passages. And in that regard, I would love it if I've heard of a couple already who have purchased some for family members who don't yet know the Lord Jesus. And I really think that would be a wonderful Christmas gift to give to someone, as I have really tried very hard to clearly set forth the gospel in simple but not simplistic terms. So that's part of it. The other thing though, for those who already know the Lord Jesus at Christmas time, as I'm sure you're well aware, our attention can be grabbed by so many other things, right? The presents, gift giving, time off. I mean, any of these things that are not necessarily terrible things in and of themselves. But what we want to focus our attention on is Christ, I think the Christmas season, whether or not he was actually born on December 25. And I won't get into some of the details of that. This has become the season where people are more open to talking about some of these things. And there is a sense for many of us in which time does slow down a little bit, whatever kind of a job you have. I'm in education, obviously. So we do get some time off. Many physicians get at least a day or two to stop and to rest and to rejuvenate a little bit. And so taking time to focus intently on our Savior and on the gift that God has given us in sending forth his Son into this world is just a wonderful thing. And my hope then, with this also is that not that it really would share any new information. That's really not the point of the book, but rather to help us maybe get a renewed perspective for the significance of the coming of Christ and that that would touch our hearts and encourage us as followers of Christ. So the two aspects are evangelistic on the one side, and then spiritual encouragement and support for the Church on the other side. [00:17:43] Speaker A: Yeah, one of the things, my wife hears me complain about this every year now, but one of the things that drives me crazy about Christmas is the materialism and all the songs about things and presents. I like this idea in that for 25 straight days, starting December 1, you are thinking about Jesus and thinking about him as a Messiah, humbling himself, becoming a man, and that amazing miracle that happens and that wonderful gift that he's given us. And rather than on Christmas Day, suddenly having to be, oh, I need to make this about Jesus today when I'm seeing all the gifts and all the things. And that's what I've been stressed about. Whom? What am I buying for Aunt Marge? And that's been on my mind. And now Christmas Day, oh, no, I have to make this about Jesus to spend 25 straight days, even if it's just five minutes reading a book or listening to a podcast where you're thinking about the incarnation, you're thinking about the Messiah coming and the first coming and that wonderful, amazing thing that happens. And so I really appreciate that aspect of this book. And obviously, this is not the only book like that. But, yeah, I love that idea of getting yourself in the right mindset so that come Christmas Day, you can be focused on Christ with your family. And I love that idea of getting together as a family, reading it. Are you going to read it with your family? [00:19:21] Speaker B: We actually are planning to do that. You can ask me the next time we're on the podcast if we followed through with it. [00:19:27] Speaker A: Are you going to read it or is Janelle going to read it? [00:19:31] Speaker B: So, sometimes we have done evening devotions around the table when we have dinner together as a family. So that's my hope that we will all do that together. That's my intention as the father of the family, to try to make this happen. We'll see. [00:19:46] Speaker A: Would that be weird, to be reading your own writing to your family? Well, they'd rather that than your dissertation, I'm sure. [00:19:54] Speaker B: Yes. Both of my children have each asked for their own copy. [00:20:03] Speaker A: They're just trying to make you feel good. [00:20:05] Speaker B: Yeah, they are. They're very gracious toward me. Yeah. I think we'll probably take turns in reading the different passages, and I'll let everybody know again as well. Just like with the audio series, it was short, only five to ten minutes most of the time. Very manageable. Most of these chapters, we're talking like three or four pages, maybe five pages. It's going to take you five minutes to read it each day. So great to do in the morning while you're doing your daily Bible reading. Great to do anytime throughout the day. You've got a few minutes here or there. And like you said, it's just meant to kind of keep in our minds the reason for the season, to quote the old cliche, right? The incarnation of Christ, and to keep that present in our thinking. [00:20:58] Speaker A: Well, emmausworldwide.org, is that correct? [00:21:02] Speaker B: I believe so, yeah. [00:21:03] Speaker A: And I'll put the link, I think, specifically to the book in the description, both on YouTube and the audio form of the podcast. Yeah, purchase the book. It's going to be a great read. Go ahead and listen to from Realms of Glory podcast. I'll probably put a link to that as well. Anything else, JJ? [00:21:22] Speaker B: No, just thank you very much for having me on the podcast. And like anything with the audio series or if you do end up reading the book, I'd love to hear your feedback, what you think about it, whether through an online review of the book, the podcast, a personal email message, anything like that. Again, my prayer is really just that this will be a blessing for a large number of people this Christmas season. And so would love to hear about the response that's had to the book. [00:21:56] Speaker A: Thanks, JJ. [00:21:57] Speaker B: Yeah, thank you. [00:22:02] Speaker C: Thank you for listening to, concerning him an Emma's podcast. Ministries like concerning him are possible because of the generous contributions from our partners around the world. For more information about partnering with us, please visit emeas.edu partner.

Other Episodes