As Steve Hays noted recently over here,
In the wake of the Mars Hill meltdown, you have Christian pundits who tell us what we can "learn" from the debacle. The takeaway lessons from that debacle.
I'd just point out that this way of framing the issue is presumptuous and prejudicial. It casts readers in the role of dupes who were taken in by Driscoll, and now have some hard lessons to learn from their disillusioning experience. He betrayed their faith in him.
No doubt there are some former fans of Driscoll who fit the bill. There are, however, Christians who never cared for him in the first place. In addition, there are Christians who appreciated the good he did, especially before he began to go off the rails. But it was never unconditional support. It was the same implicitly qualified support for any minister who's doing good at the time. It always made allowance for weaknesses. And it was always provisional. Always subject to retraction.
It could be presumptuous and prejudicial, yes, and particularly in cases where people came in advance disliking Driscoll over specific issues. For the Salon/AlterNet/Mother Jones crowd it was Driscoll's views on gays and women. For Team Pyro, it was charismatic stuff ... except that at one point Driscoll described himself as essentially cessationist. No matter, the hobby horse was the hobby horse. Thus, Dan Phllips may just have a chance to do an Elliot Reid-style "I told you so" dance.
But the Pyro/Slice of Laodicea crew have been against Driscoll for charismatic/contemplative things for close to a decade to pretty much no effect at all. If anything their rhetorical approach toward charismatics was met in kind when Driscoll opted to refer to cessationists as deists and functional atheists.
And in light of Janet Mefferd's confrontation with Driscoll on air last year it was also essentially beside the point. Team Pyro has nothing to commend for themselves because they only went for the low-hanging fruit, the problematic aspects of Mark Driscoll's public persona. And where did those problems come from? Apparently from a particular doctrinal platform and not from Mark Driscoll's character. But challenge Driscoll on the degree to which he cribbed the ideas of others and, a year later, where's Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll's public ministry? Both down for the count, if perhaps only "for a season".
The problem, as ever, has been that whether it's a political left or a theological right both sides have wanted to make Mark Driscoll a useful symbol for their pre-existing judgments and convictions. I.e. the echo chamber of their own prejudices. Attempting to understand the history of Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll whether or not that history confirms what we already wish were or think to be the case has never been on the radar for Pyromaniacs so far as Wenatchee The Hatchet has been able to observe.
What outsiders continually fail to grasp is how often Driscoll has shifted on theological ideas. If Driscoll in the next two years were to announce in public that he's an egalitarian cessationist would the issues in his character and intellectual property be different? We'd have to find out. Driscoll was self-described as a cessationist for years and the in-creeping of "charismatic with a seatbelt" to "I see things" may have evolved over time as more informal and formal power got consolidated around him and executive leadership.
WtH is currently transcribing the 2008 spiritual warfare session from 2008 with an eye toward not treating the warfare talk as "just" a doctrinal statement but a type of intra-leadership political manifesto. A person should not get hung up on the jargon and terminology or even the claims to divinely granted super-powers without understanding the political context in which this seminar was given, in the wake of the late 2007 firings and trials of Petry and Meyer and the loss of a thousand members, not so much due to the doctrinal rigor of the "Doctrine" series where Mark Driscoll presented a patently inaccurate history and summation of the rabbinical commentary on the Targum Neofiti, because the executive leadership seemed to be stonewalling and lying to members about what the reasons for the termination were. When it was finally revealed Petry and Meyer were fired over their opposition to the bylaws (though the explanations for why the firings were "necessary and inevitable" turned out to be subject to change) a lot of people bailed. Even people who were in leadership at Mars Hill had begun to leave in early 2008.
So Mark Driscoll's lecture should be seen in some sense less for it's "how" (disguised as "what" in the form of spiritual warfare) and more for it's "what" in social terms, instructing the leadership culture of MH how to counsel and deal with members but also other leaders, with a warning that the wolves that could destroy Mars Hill were already within Mars Hill. The spiritual warfare theme could be read, in a way, as the mere surface of what was going on. Unfortunately for Team Pyro, as ever, there's a sense in which all they've ever engaged is the surface rather than the substance of the history of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill.