The Story Behind ‘Unchained’

March 27th, 2017

Christians are free in Christ, yet Christianity can feel like a prison.  Often when people follow Jesus, they feel more guilty instead of more free. A powerful book for the spiritually restless, Unchained by Noel Jesse Heikkinen shows readers how to have a robust faith that celebrates their freedom in Christ without compromising their holiness as God’s followers.

Unchained turns to the person and work of Jesus Christ as the source of freedom—not just his work 2,000 years ago but also what he is doing today. As readers dig into the meaning of the freedom that Jesus offers, they will understand, perhaps for the first time, what true freedom in Christ means.

Ready our story spotlight on Unchained with Noel Jesse Heikkinen to learn more!

Tells us a bit about your book—what inspired you to write it?

Over the past 20 years or so of ministry, I noticed something disturbing about churches and Christians (at least here in the United States).  We don’t behave like people who have been set free.  This is quite jarring when you think about it because the Apostle Paul is audacious enough in Galatians to declare “for freedom Christ has set us free” (5:1).  If that is true, then Jesus has both set us free and expects us to live free.

What is the main message of your book?

Jesus has set you free, so live free!

What was the hardest part about writing nonfiction?

I’ve never tried my hand at fiction, so I don’t know any better!  In all honesty, the biggest challenge has making sure I remained faithful to Jesus and his Word on each page.  It’s not that I wanted to write a bunch of heresy, but sometimes a fear of man would pop up and I would think, “What will people think of this section?”  The greatest battle was to ignore that voice and write for an audience of many and the glory of One.

What is one thing you learned while writing Unchained?

I learned how much I need the stuff I wrote about.  The best preaching is always seasoned with a fair amount of “I need this as much or more than you do” and the preaching that turns me off gives off a message that the preacher has it all together (and is often the inadvertent hero of the story).  I didn’t have to fake this when writing this book.  I realized in chapter after chapter how messed up I am and how much I need Jesus to continually remind me of the freedom he purchased for me.

Do you have any advice for those interested in writing nonfiction?

I’ll quote my wise wife: “Suck it up and write your book.”

What are you working on next?

I can’t spoil that! Suffice it to say, I am writing another book that I need (and I hope it may be at least a little helpful to other people).

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Noel Jesse Heikkinen

{More About Noel Jesse Heikkinen}

Noel Jesse Heikkinen is a pastor at Riverview Church, a multi-site church of over 3,000 near Lansing, Michigan. Heikkinen also helps lead the church planting ministry Acts 29 and is the chairman of the board for the mission agency Reliant. He and his wife, Grace, have four children.

Find out more about Noel Jesse at