Mark Driscoll on Satan, spiritual warfare, and choosing to simply 'do ministry' alongside family

Mark and Grace Driscoll have penned their second book together, “Win Your War: Fight in the Realm You Don’t See for Freedom in the One You Do.” | Courtesy of Charisma House

Nearly six years after the public implosion of his Seattle megachurch, Mark Driscoll said his goal is to simply “do ministry” alongside his family.

Driscoll, once described by Forbes magazine as one of America's "most prominent and celebrated pastors,” has been leading Trinity Church, a church plant in Scottsdale, Arizona, along with his wife, for three years now. He told The Christian Post that it was started at the behest of his five children. 

“My kids called a family meeting and said, ‘Hey mom and dad, we love Jesus, let’s plant a church together.’ They said, ‘Let’s call it Trinity Church.’ Grace’s dad had pastored a Trinity church, so it’s named after the kids' grandpa,” he said. 

“We started it as a family project and it’s been so fun because all my kids love and serve Jesus, and we all serve together. My oldest is engaged and getting married to a guy who loves Jesus, and so for us, it’s this really healthy, joyful season where I teach the Bible and do ministry with Grace and my kids.”

Before resigning from Mars Hill Church in Seattle in 2014, Driscoll was popular for his bold and unapologetic preaching. His church, founded in 1996, had expanded to 15 sites across five states. 

A steady stream of controversies, including accusations of bullying, plagiarism, and misusing church funds to boost book sales, led to his resignation. Mars Hill Church eventually dissolved.

Today, Driscoll says his goal isn’t success or fame; rather, he wants to “love Jesus, be emotionally present with Grace and the kids, and do ministry as a family.”

“And that includes me teaching the Bible,” he said. “I just turned 49 and I love what I’m doing, and the goal is to keep doing exactly that.”

Watching his children grow in their faith has been his greatest joy, Driscoll said. “I kind of felt like I watched the Holy Spirit raise my kids because I can’t change their heart. I can lead and teach them, but I can’t change their hearts," he noted.

“I didn’t know the Lord until I was 19; I didn’t grow up reading the Bible or asking what God’s will was, so to watch my kids from a young age have a personal relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit has been remarkable as a parent. We get too much blame or credit as parents. I think a lot of it is, is the kid’s heart open to the Lord? And then the parents can do a lot with that.”

Driscoll and his wife, Grace, recently released a new book — Win Your War: Fight in the Realm You Don’t See for Freedom in the One You Do.

He explained that after preaching the Bible book by book for over 20 years, he discovered that spiritual warfare is a “constant theme,” from Genesis to Revelation. However, many Christians are reluctant to focus on the supernatural because it’s “mysterious and scary.”

“Throughout Scripture, everything God creates for good, Satan counterfeits for evil,” Driscoll said. “Beginning in Genesis: God creates a Kingdom, Satan counterfeits it with Egypt. It’s spiritual warfare. There are demonic things happening, from the books of Daniel to Job. We tend to think of Job’s story as one of suffering, but all of it was spiritual warfare. The supernatural, angels and demons, show up in 95% of Bible books.”

Satan, he contended, has from the beginning of time sought to attack the character of God and deceive His people — and the Evil One is still propagating those same lies and deceptions today.

“Lying is Satan’s native language; he’s the father of all lies,” he said. “His two primary lies are about who God is, and who you are. We see this beginning in Genesis: He essentially tells Eve, ‘God has held out on you. He hasn’t provided for you.’ Then, he lies to Adam about who they are. They were made in God’s image but Satan says, ‘No you weren’t. If you do this, you’ll become like God.’”

“The two most important things you can know is who God is and who God says you are. A lot of the lies come into that.”

In the book, the couple examines the nature of spiritual warfare in modern times and argues that false teachers, fear, pride, lies, sexual predators and even some mental illness could be demonic forces at work. Part of their goal in writing the book, Driscoll said, is to help people recognize Satan’s role in their lives today. 

Courtesy of A. Larry Ross

“Over the years, I’ve counseled hundreds of people, and a lot of people say things about themselves that are horrible,” he revealed. “They say they’re ugly, stupid, hopeless, beyond repair. I say, ‘All of this is in the second person. Maybe somebody is talking to you who doesn’t have a body. If someone with a physical body followed you around and said those things, you’d get a restraining order.’”

“They’re being told things that aren’t true, that are debilitating them by an unseen being. Even Christians that love the Lord will say things to themselves and about themselves that they would never say about someone else. Satan tells them, ‘Whatever you’ve done is too much for Jesus.’ That’s a demonic attack and a lie on who you are and who God is. Jesus can handle it and He loves you.”

A lot of spiritual warfare, the Spirit-Filled Jesus author stressed, comes to married couples. He pointed out that the devil didn’t show up to attack humans until marriage entered the picture, referencing Satan’s temptation of Eve in Genesis 3.

“He could’ve taken Adam out before, but he waited until Adam and Eve were married,” the pastor said. “He loves to attack married couples and separate them. If he can destroy a marriage, he then goes for the children and the legacy.”

Couples who refuse to forgive one another and hold onto bitterness “open the door to the demonic,” Driscoll warned. 

“Forgiveness comes down from Heaven, unforgiveness is pulled up from Hell,” he explained. “Sometimes the people that are most tormented have been sinned against, used and abused. All those things are and justifiable, but if they don’t forgive, they’re inviting the devil to torment them and make things worse.”

“Our world is not doing forgiveness well. Attack, criticism, we do a lot of that, but we don’t do a lot of forgiving. Holding onto bitterness grieves the Holy Spirit and makes our marriages susceptible to the demonic.”

While many people have a tendency to blame their genetic predisposition or their psychological background instead of acknowledging the reality of spiritual warfare, Driscoll argued the two categories aren’t mutually exclusive.

“As Christians, we believe we are two parts: The biological, physical part, and then the invisible, emotional, spiritual, soulish part. We’re one person but two parts,” he explained. “These two parts affect each other. Your physical wellbeing, say you have an injury, can impact your emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Similarly, something can attack you spiritually and have manifestations in your physical wellbeing.”

Driscoll pointed out that the New Testament book of Luke talks about demons and spiritual warfare more than any other book of the Bible. “Luke was a medical doctor. He understood that to help the whole person, we need to consider both the spiritual and physical component of who we are.”

Still, the pastor stressed the need for personal responsibility. “God holds Adam, Eve, and Satan accountable in Genesis,” he said. “Adam tries to blame shift, so does Eve, yet God still holds them responsible.”

“Satan will be held responsible, and so will demons,” he added, “But we will be held accountable for our actions as well. Just because supernatural beings are involved doesn’t mean we can blame them.”

The good news, Driscoll maintained, is that the battle is ultimately between God and Satan — and Satan is not equal to God. 

“God rules and reigns over Satan. And Jesus, by dying on the cross, He took whatever right Satan had to us because we only belong to the darkness until Jesus saves us, and then we’re transferred into the light,” the pastor said.

“Jesus’ authority is our authority. When we use the authority that the Lord gives us, we’re shifting the battle back to God and getting ourselves off the battlefield.”

Driscoll pointed out that secular culture is “fascinated” by aliens, witches, the paranormal, and the supernatural. A large percentage of the U.S. population believes in a spiritual realm, with 67 percent stating they have had a spiritual experience seeing a spirit being, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

“Culture has a profound deep fascination with what some would call the unseen realm,” he said. “It opens Christians up to provide a biblical explanation that, it’s not all superstitious. The unseen realm is real and the Bible gives us categories to understand it so we’re not deceived.”

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