Driscoll sees things

In 2008, in a series entitled Christus Victor, Mark Driscoll taught on the issue of Spiritual Warfare. He informs his audience that God has given him the gift of spiritual discernment. So, it appears that Driscoll does not have a dearth of discernment, for God has allowed Driscoll to see things that have happened in the past, personal things, immoral things, disturbing things. Here is Driscoll’s explanation of the things he sees.


Here is a link to Phil Johnson’s comments on the above, entitled Pornographic Divination.


Evidence of a fraudulent ministry

In the third seminar on Spiritual Warfare, entitled Christus Victor, Mark Driscoll gives church leaders and counsellors advice on how they should help people with demonic issues. [Spiritual Warfare Part 3: Christus Victor, Pastor Mark Driscoll | February 05, 2008 | 01hr:01mn ]

In this seminar Mark Driscoll makes the statement:

Some people actually see things. This may be gift of discernment. On occasion, I see things. I see things.

Is this a gift of discernment from God, as Driscoll implies? Or is it further evidence of false teaching? The purpose of this paper is to throw light on this question. We need to be aware that Scripture warns of false prophets who speak a vision of their own heart:

 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; They speak a vision of their own heart, Not from the mouth of the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:16 NKJV)

In his seminar, Driscoll says that Christians cannot be demon possessed, but they can, in his opinion, be internally influenced by demons. He explains, in some detail, what he does for those who are, as he puts it, internally influenced by demons.

First, he says he shares the gospel and makes sure that the counselee who is influenced by demons is a Christian. Second, he explains the world, the flesh and the devil. Third, he explains what he calls a spiritual trial from 1 John 4; that is, we need to test the spirits. Then he reads about spiritual warfare from Ephesians 6. [Minutes 14].

Here it is important for us to understand that it is utterly impossible for any demon to co-occupy with the Holy Spirit the body or soul of a genuine believer. ‘What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6.19).

Driscoll’s method of dealing with demonic issues

In the seminar Driscoll says: ‘There are two ways of dealing with someone who has demonic issues. One is to speak directly to the demon. If you do, the demon takes over the person – this is where their eyes roll back and their voices change, this is where they demonstrate supernatural strength, this is where things go nuts. Don’t ever to that…’

[Minutes 16] ‘You start talking to a demon and the next thing they take over the person and that’s not what you want. But that’s the crazy stuff that gets on television. I don’t speak directly to the demon… I don’t speak directly to the demon. I’ll explain what I do do in a moment. I speak to the person, and then the demon answers them… I’ll ask the person questions, because it’s a trial. They’ll get an answer because they’ll hear it, or see it, then they’ll tell me.

The other way is to speak directly to the demon, but the only way the demon can speak back to me then is for the demon to take over and control that person’s whole body, but I don’t want that to happen… I explain the difference between demonic oppression, that’s attacks accusations and vain regrets, demonic occupation, that’s, you know, internal influence and demonic possession that’s only for a non-Christian…

 People hear things all the time, they hear accusations, vain regrets, lies, and I’ll ask questions to the demon then and I’ll just tell them; tell me what you hear. And if it sounds crazy that’s okay, let me interpret the data. Some say I can’t tell you, that’s crazy. Tell me! Some will say I can’t its embarrassing. Tell me, just tell me what you’re getting, tell me what you’re hearing. Number four, tell me everything you see, no matter how odd it may seem. Some people actually see things. This may be gift of discernment. On occasion, I see things. I see things.’

 Having explained his how he deals with people who have demonic issues, Driscoll now gives examples of visions he claims to have seen. First, however, we should note that God has forbidden verbal interaction between His people and demons.

Dr Peter Masters, pastor of Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, in his book The Healing Epidemic (1988), writes:

‘Apart from the sign ministry of exorcism practised by Christ and by the apostles as His immediate representatives (which was designed to authenticate His divine power and to assure us that He has power over demons) no direct intercourse between believers and demons is permitted or prescribed in the New Testament. Deuteronomy 18.10-12 is one of several absolute prohibitions of every conceivable form of involvement or commerce with evil spirits. God says: There shall not be found among you anyone who… uses divination… practices witchcraft… interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord (NASB).

 We must clearly understand why it is so heinously wicked to approach evil spirits. It is not only a matter of turning away from God and trusting in someone or something other than God. It is primarily because any attempt at direct contact with (including conversation with) an evil spirit is detestable to the Lord. The principle behind this prohibition is that direct communication with demons by human being is a most vile and offensive act in the sight of God, regardless of the purpose or motive. Demons are loathsome, evil spirits full of hate, deceit, subtlety and deadly danger. We are absolutely forbidden to pry, enquire, interrogate or interact with them in any way whatsoever, no matter what the circumstances may be, and no matter how good our intentions… in the sight of God any direct communication between His children and the spirits of darkness is an abomination.’ (page 94-95)

 Dr Masters speaks of Christian workers who try to get insights into the identity and intentions of demons which they think may be present in suffering people. ‘Some of these workers are no doubt cheap pretenders who invent all their so-called insights. But others who believe very deeply in their theological system strain every nerve to become open and sensitive to the unseen world of demons, little realising that God condemns all such activity as spiritism.’ (page 96).

 With these insights we are now in a position to examine Driscoll’s visions.

 Driscoll’s vision of child abuse

‘Uh, like I was meeting with one person and they—they didn’t know this, but they were abused when they were a child. And I said, “When you were a child you were abused. This person did this to you, physically touched you this way.” He said, “How do you know?” I said, “I don’t know. It’s like I got a TV right here. I’m seeing it.” He said, “No that never happened.” I said, “Go ask him. Go ask him if they actually did what I think they did and I see that they did.” They went and asked this person, “When I was a little kid did you do this?” And the person said, “Yyyyeah, but you were only like a year or two old. How do you remember that?” He said, “Well, pastor Mark told me.”

 I’m not a guru. I’m not a freak. I don’t talk about this. If I did talk about it everybody’d want to meet with me and I’d end up like one of those guys on TV. But some of you have this visual ability to see things.’

Here Driscoll tells about a case of child abuse in a counselee who is presumably a member of his congregation. Driscoll informs the person that he was abused as a child, although he has no recollection of the abuse. Hence the persons asks the question—‘How did you know’? Driscoll replies that he is seeing it happen. By this answer, he claims to have the supernatural power to uncover a dark secret from the person’s past, an event of which the person is totally unaware. Driscoll is claiming that he has the ability to uncover the hidden past, in much the same way that Freud claimed the ability to uncover secrets buried in the unconscious mind. But Freud was a fraud who did great harm.

Driscoll’s self-proclaimed ability to ‘see things’ is dangerous, for it can cause great harm to those involved in his ‘visions’. In the example above, we see how Driscoll has identified and named an abuser, and told the counselee to approach the ‘abuser’ with the allegation of criminal wrongdoing, based on Driscoll’s vision. But what if the person has not been abused, as Driscoll asserts? How can the person accused of child abuse by Driscoll’s vision establish his innocence? The answer is that he cannot, for it is Driscoll’s ‘supernatural vision’ against the word of the person accused of child abuse. And a Driscoll ‘supernatural vision’ will always trump the word of an alleged abuser.

Driscoll has opened the flood gate to false accusations of abuse, based on the authority of his ‘supernatural visions’. There is no way in which Driscoll’s remarkable ‘visions’ can be either proved or disproved—we simply have his word for them.

However, we should understand the full significance of Driscoll’s claim to have ‘supernatural visions’. He has taken to himself a remarkable power over his congregation, and the lives of other people, for he has the ‘supernatural’ ability to see into their private lives, and even to reveal hidden secrets of child abuse and sexual sins, as we see in his next example.

But we need to consider these examples in the light of Scripture. God spoke toIsrael, through the prophet Moses, before the conquest of theHoly Land. ‘You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, for these [pagan] nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this’ (Deuteronomy 18.13-14). Scripture is clear that divination, which is the practice of attempting to foretell future events or of discovering hidden knowledge by occult or supernatural means, is wickedness in the eyes of God. Christian believers are not to partake in divination.  Scripture is clear that God’s people are not to use occult sources to receive information, guidance or revelation. God has revealed truth in His Word.

Driscoll’s vision of adultery

Driscoll goes on: Um, uh, there was one woman I dealt with. She never told her husband that she had committed adultery on him early in the relationship. I said, “You know—” (she’s sitting there with her husband). I said, “You know I think the root of all this—I think Satan has a foothold in your life because you’ve never told your husband about that really tall blonde guy that you met at the bar. And then you went back to the hotel. And you laid on your back. And you undressed yourself. And he climbed on top of you. And you had sex with him. And snuggled up with him for a while. And deep down in your heart, even though you had just met him, you desired him because secretly he is the fantasy body type.” I said, “You remember that place it was that cheap hotel with that certain-colored bedspread. You did it—you had sex with the light on because you weren’t ashamed and you wanted him to see you. And you wanted to see him.” She was just looking at me like—  I said, “You know, it was about ten years ago. “I see everything.” She says—she looks at her husband. He says, “Is that true?” She says, “Yeah.” “He was 6’2″, blonde hair, blue eyes?” “Yeah.”

 Only God knows the heart of man

This unbelievable story reveals a great deal about Driscoll. Notice the remarkable claim. ‘And deep down in your heart… you desired him because secretly he is the fantasy body type.’ He claims to have the ability to see into this woman’s heart. He claims to know her deepest desires and thoughts.

But Scripture says that only God knows the heart of man. ‘For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?’ (1 Corinthians 2:11). King Solomon prayed, ‘You alone know the hearts of the sons of men’ (2 Chronicles 6:30). Jesus knew the thoughts of the scribes. ‘But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts”.’ (Mathew 9:4). It is God who tests the mind, who gives to each person according to his ways (Jeremiah 17:9-10). The Word of God is a ‘discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart’ (Hebrews 4:12). The plain message of the Bible is that it is not possible for a human being to know what is in the mind of another person.

Therefore, on the authority of God’s Word, we can be sure that Driscoll’s assertion that he knew the secret sexual fantasy of this woman is not true—Driscoll is not telling the truth. The evidence before our eyes in plain—Driscoll is a fake, for he cannot discern the desires and thoughts of another human being. Only God knows the thoughts of a man or woman.

In this example, Driscoll’s obsession with salacious sex is again brought into the open. The scene in Driscoll’s imagination is so explicit that he even claims to know the colour of the bedspread and the height of the adulterer. We are asked to believe that the God of Scripture, who is ‘of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness’ (Habakkuk 1.13), reveals to the pastor of Mars Hill church salacious events in the lives of his congregation. To even suggest that his pornographic vision is from God is to impugn the holy character of God.

What godly pastor would deal with a woman and her husband in this casual way? What were the consequences of Driscoll’s allegation of adultery for this woman and her husband? What happened to the marriage? What happened to the children of the marriage?

 Driscoll’s vision of an abusive grandfather

Driscoll again: Some of you when you’re counselling, you will see things. I mean you will, you will literally (gift of discernment) see things. I can’t explain it. It doesn’t happen all the time. Sometimes your counselee, they will see things. Ye—eh—there’s pa— I found this with people—ok, now let me—I’m gonna ask the demon questions. You tell me what they say. “They don’t say anything.” I say, “What do you hear?” And they say, “Nothing.” They say, “But I’m seeing stuff.” “Oh, oh, well tell me. What’s that?”

 “I’m seeing—you know when I was little my grandpa molested me. I didn’t know that.” I said, “Well, let’s not assume it’s true. Go ask your grandfather.” Grandpa says, “Yyyeah, when you were little I molested you.” Grandpa was assuming they’d be too young to remember. So he’d only molest grand kids up to a certain age. But they saw it.

Here Driscoll is encouraging his audience to believe that they can also develop the ability to see things in the lives of people who come to them for counselling. Driscoll asserts that even the counselee’s can see things. Under Driscoll’s influence a counselee claims to have seen his grandpa molest him when he was very young. And grandpa, when confronted, simply owns up. This story is reminiscent of the scandal of the false recovered memory syndrome of the 1980 and 90s, when thousands of young women were encouraged by counsellors to uncover false memories of sexual abuse, and to falsely accuse their fathers. Thousands of families were ripped apart by false accusations, against which there was no defence. Likewise, there is no defence against Driscoll’s ‘supernatural’ visions.

 Driscoll’s visions of horrible things

Driscoll again: It’s the supernatural. It’s, it’s, it’s the whole other realm. It’s like the Matrix. You can take the blue pill, you take the red pill. You go into this whole other world. And, and, and that’s the way it works. So I say—tell me everything you hear, tell me everything you see. And sometimes I see things too. I see things too. I’ve seen women raped. I’ve seen children molested. I’ve seen people abused. I’ve seen people beaten. I’ve seen horrible things done. Horrible things done. I’ve seen children dedicated in occultic groups and demons come upon them as an infant by invitation. And I wasn’t present for any of it, but I’ve seen it visibly.

Upon occasion when I get up to preach I’ll see—just like a screen in front of me—I’ll see somebody get raped or abused and then I’ll track ’em down and say, “Look I had this vision. Let me tell you about it.” All true.

Driscoll confesses that he is dealing with the supernatural, with the other realm. And so we must ask: Which supernatural realm? To which supernatural realm is Driscoll referring? A realm like the Matrix? Is this the realm of the occult? In this regard Driscoll has form. We already know that Driscoll has legitimised tattoos among his congregation [Jesus loves tattoos]; we already know Driscoll tolerates Halloween among his congregation; we already know he promotes weird punk rock music. So to which supernatural realm is Driscoll referring?

Through the centuries of time pagan religion has always sought to get in touch with the other realm through the arts of divination. These are the ways of pagan religion. As we saw above, Deuteronomy 18.10-12 provides a list the forbidden pagan practices: divination, an observer of times, an enchanter, a witch, a charmer, a consulter of familiar spirits, a wizard or a necromancer. All these practices seek contact with the supernatural realm. All these practices are detestable to God.

 Driscoll’s vision of abused wife

More Driscoll: One I had—I was sitting in my office at the old, uh, Earl Building. This gal walks by. Nice gal, member of the church. This is when the church was small. And it’s just like a TV was there and I saw the night before her husband threw her up against the wall, had her by the throat, was physically violent with her. And she said, “That’s it, I’m telling the pastors.” And he said, “If you do I’ll kill you.” He was a very physically abusive man. She was walking by and I just saw it. It was like a TV. And I said, “Hey, come here for a second.” I said, “Last night did your husband throw you up against the wall and have you by the throat, physically assault you and tell you if you told anyone he would kill you?” And she just starts bawling. She says, “How did you know?” I said, “Jesus told me.” I call the guy on the phone: “Hey, I need you to come to the office.” Didn’t give him any clue. He comes in and I said, “Dude, what’d you do to your wife last night? Why’d you do this? Why’d you throw her up against the wall?” And he gets very angry. They’re sitting on the couch and he says, “Why did you tell him?” I said, “She didn’t. Jesus did. Jesus did.”

 . . . And there are some people that have real gift of discernment, and I’m not saying I’m a hundred percent always right with it, but some of you are going to have gift of discernment, and you need to—you need to learn to grow in the use of that gift. And sometimes people will hear things. Sometimes people will see things.

Here Driscoll claims that he receives supernatural revelations into the lives of other people from Jesus Christ. That is, the Lord Jesus tells Driscoll what is going on in the lives of his congregation. Driscoll says that his ability to see things is a gift of discernment.

 What the Bible says about the spirit of discernment

‘To another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits’ (1 Corinthians 12:10)

‘Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world’ (1 John 4).

King Solomon’s prayer to God was for wisdom. ‘Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great people?’  (1 Kings 3:9)

What is discernment?

According to Scripture discernment is the ability to identify the true nature of a spirit, doctrine or practice. The gift of discernment enables a believer to distinguish truth from error, good from evil and right conduct from wrong conduct. Believers with the God-given gift of discernment are especially skilled in recognising false teaching, and in exposing false doctrine.

 Driscoll’s fraudulent ministry

Let us be absolutely clear on this point—Driscoll’s claim to have visions is another sign of his false teaching. Scripture warns that we must not listen to false prophets who speak of visions from their own heart.

Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; They speak a vision of their own heart,  Not from the mouth of the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:16 NKJV)

In the gospel age, God does not speak to men through visions but through his written Word, Holy Scripture. Categorically, Driscoll’s visions are not of God. So how do we explain Driscoll? The message of Scripture is relevant. ‘Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron’ (1 Timothy chapter 4.1-2). The Holy Spirit warns that in the gospel age some shall depart from the faith and follow deceiving spirits. These seducing spirits are opposed to the Spirit of Truth; the doctrine of devils is opposed to the Gospel of Truth. The ministry of Mark Driscoll is opposed to the truth.

We have tested Driscoll’s claim to see things, and we must conclude that this is not a ministry from God. According to Scripture those who seek to contact the spirit world are an abomination to God.

You can learn more about Mark Driscoll’s ministry in the book, The New Calvinists (2014), published by The Wakeman Trust and Belmont House Publishing.