Another word on Driscoll
The issue is not doctrine. He stands firm on all orthodox beliefs and then some. The issue is not necessarily his associations, as he blasts both his Emerg* left and seeker-sensitive friends (we can and should remain friends with those with whom we disagree).
The issue isn't even so much style. I know there are Christians who feel a suit and tie make one sanctified. I know there are believers who have strong convictions about the worship service. Personally, I probably stand more in the middle (I don't have such strong convictions on the matter, but then again, a pastor should make more of an effort than a tee-shirt), but these are areas where, to an extent, we can disagree with grace.
The issue is language and attitude. Because of the blessing of being where I am, I get to hear much of the back-story of the exchange between MacArthur/Johnson, Piper, and Driscoll. It's not my place to post that story here. Yet, I will say this: there is a disconnect between what Driscoll says about his use of humor and explicit language and how he has continued in them.
Yet, there are things I admire about Driscoll, which is not a popular view in some conservative circles.
I also know how easy it is to paint someone as a wolf in sheep's clothing by taking a few sound-bites out of context. This happened to John Macarthur years ago by some leading fundamentalist groups, and there are still some who call him a heretic. Driscoll does not show many of the earmarks of a false teacher (riding a hobby horse, a number of questionable teachings, lavish living, etc.), and there is something undeniably impressive about what Mars Hill has accomplished under his teaching.
That is not a free pass, however. Driscoll has violated common decency from the pulpit multiple times and shows no sign of letting up soon.
As a result, many have railed against the elders at Mars Hill for not reigning in their man. I don't know about that, though. Mark Driscoll is no longer the "lead pastor" of his church. Is this a demotion? I haven't seen any information one way or the other, so I'll leave that for the comment thread.
I'm a bit more willing to be gracious to Driscoll than others because his seemingly unrepentant attitude does not jive with the overall picture he portrays, Perhaps he's a good conman, but I don't see jets parked in his driveway or $2,000/night vacation bills, either. (Yet?)
I do know that evangelical liberals, feminists, Mormons, JW's, hyper-Calvinists, some Arminians, and half of Seattle all hate him and call for him to repent for this or that transgression against them or "God." This may sound naive, but as someone in ministry, I have to try to see the issue from all possible angles. It is possible that he simply has gained thick skin (a need for any pastor) and has not learned how to process Spirit-driven criticism in light of Satan-driven criticism.
In that case, I am glad Piper is mentoring Driscoll, and I hope that Mark gets better aligned with the qualifications of a pastor.
Would I recommend his church at this point? I don't know. I would not recommend it to a family with young children... I guess that says it all. I can't imagine a valid church setting where I have to stand ready to cover my kids' ears.
I hope and desire to see Driscoll repent of these issues, because, as I said, there is a lot I admire about him.