My name is Kegan A. Chandler.
I am a Christian author, historical researcher, and full-time book collector. I am currently pursuing my Master of Theology degree in Biblical Studies while living in Houston, TX with my wife Lauren and two amazing boys. My primary research interests include Early Christianity, Gnosticism, pagan religion, and Church History.
Here is a little bit more about me and my back-story…
My family narrative is one deeply rooted in Bible study: My grandfather, Pat E. Harrell (1930-1978) was a Harvard-educated leader in the Restoration Movement. He was chairman of the Bible Department in Northeastern Christian College and later held the Bible Chair at the University of Texas in Austin; he also co-founded Restoration Quarterly (1957 to present), a journal associated with the Churches of Christ. My grandfather ultimately passed his concern for the Bible to my parents.
Being born into the Church of Christ denomination, one might say my trajectory has always been one of “restoration.” My parents were, and still are, avid Bible-students, writers, and teachers; I spent my childhood immersed in the Bible they loved. Soon, I learned to love it too. After teaching in the Churches of Christ for many years, my parents’ own biblical studies eventually led them into conflict with some of the denomination’s positions. It wasn’t easy breaking with the family tradition, but my parents bravely led us out.
I spent the rest of my childhood and teenage years participating in other Protestant groups: the Nazarenes, the Southern Baptists, various “Non-denominational” churches, etc. My parents held just about every Church office imaginable, besides lead pastor; we were evangelicals through and through. I myself came to teach classes at one of the largest Baptist churches in the Houston area, and developed a personal passion for ministry and for the Bible.
In 1994, my family founded a parachurch organization, New Life Ministries of America, Inc. The organization was founded in order to publish books, tracts, and teaching materials for churches, and for many years it circulated a monthly in-print newsletter. Eventually the group engaged in providing Bibles and financial assistance to both local and overseas missions, and still does so to this day. I have participated in that ministry for many years, and currently sit on the Board.
In 2011, I graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD University), with a degree in writing. I had actually quit my program halfway through, in order to join a Baptist Seminary. But as I began to pursue Christian academia, something wasn’t sitting well with me. Something was off. My professors from SCAD called me, and encouraged me to come back and finish my writing. Upon returning, I won several writing awards and fellowships, placed highly in the Academy Awards’ national competition, and was commissioned to write an international feature film. Agents were calling. But my passion for the Bible soon came calling too.
I was at this time still an evangelical Trinitarian; in the various Christian circles I’d grown up in, the only ones who took issue with “orthodoxy” were Jehovah’s Witnesses or atheists. In my world, any impulses to challenge the orthodox interpretation of the Scriptures were never followed very far. I eventually became interested in Mormonism, that is, in debating Mormons in order to convert them to a belief in the Trinity. I became a self-appointed missionary, and engaged in regular debates: spreading the message about the Trinity and the “God-man” of the ecumenical creeds was my singular focus.
It was during my studies that I felt compelled to dig deeper into the history of my own evangelical faith. I had always been a diligent researcher; I did not set out to challenge “orthodoxy”, but to support it. I sought only more fuel for the sacred interpretations which I’d preached and argued in so many settings. However, what I eventually found buried in the history of Christian theology disturbed me, changed me, and sent me careening headlong into the nagging questions about God and Jesus which I had regularly stifled for years. What followed was a three-year-long investigation, and a realization that the dogmas and creeds I’d held so dear were the furthest things from Jesus and the NT writers’ minds. My own understanding of God and Jesus was radically challenged by the cold facts of Church history: I had encountered serious problems with where and how we got our creedal faith statements, but more importantly I had encountered a Jesus rooted firmly, not in the philosophical models of the Greco-Roman world, but in the unitarian monotheistic confession of the historical Jewish religion. The tangible product of those three years of investigation was a book detailing my findings. That book is called The God of Jesus in Light of Christian Dogma. Recently I have been fortunate enough to come into close partnership with Restoration Fellowship, the ministry of Sir Anthony F. Buzzard. Restoration Fellowship will be publishing this book, which is slated for August 2016.
I have since come into contact with dozens of other Christians all over the world who have come to the same conclusions about God, Jesus, and Church history. A few of us have decided to found a new online ministry, theGodofJesus.com, in hopes of spreading this enlightening information via books, articles, audio, video, and more. In 2013, I also began to pastor a small church in Houston, which gathers weekly for fellowship and study. This blog was set up in 2016 as a place where I can write about other topics related to biblical literature, the history of religion and philosophy, and more. In 2017 I also began pursuing my Master of Theology degree at Campbellsville University, and began research for a new book project. Of course, both of these endeavors have naturally limited my time for blogging! But I am usually able to provide new content once or twice a month.
My goal with all of these efforts is always to promote public interest in the Bible, religious history, and in the religion of the historical Jesus. But at the Buried Deep blog, one can expect to find a little more on my esoteric interests.
I pray that you will be blessed, and maybe even challenged, as you read and journey along with me back in time.
(For an audio interview on my personal journey with Christianity, click here.)