Allow us to give a brief response to Jay Adkins’ post.
1. B21 champions the primacy of the local church.
We stand by our oft-repeated philosophy that the local church is primary and associations and conventions are secondary. Churches and pastors aren’t “servants” of NOBA, as Jay stated, or any association. Associations are supposed to serve the churches. Associations don’t do ministry. Local churches do.
Never once in the article did we degrade compassion ministries. We are for both planting and compassion. However, the local church is the institution ordained by King Jesus to uniquely carry out the Great Commission, evangelism and compassion ministries. Our desire is to see a local church movement in NOLA. We pray this discussion leads to that end.
2. B21’s purpose is to advance discussions that no one else is having.
Our purpose in this post – as with similar ones we’ve posted in the past on various other issues – is to advance discussion about how to best advance the Great Commission. Good brothers with good intentions can disagree on this issue and the best use of these properties without questioning one another’s integrity. We are happy to have the discussion and to disagree but want to do so in the right spirit. Dean never suggested that NOBA isn’t passionate about church planting. The question is one of strategy not value.
3. There actually seems to be agreement on the basic facts.
NOBA owns properties they plan to sell rather than use to house church plants, and some of the funds from those sells will be used for compassion ministries. Jay admits this in his post, and this was Dean’s contention.
While Jay admits that there’s a plan to sell at least three properties (Carver, Sims, and Hopeview Baptist), he’s quick to say that Carver and Sims are not church properties, though he admits a small congregation did use one of the facilities for a short time. We didn’t intend for our post to get into the nuances of ecclesiology. We don’t think the church is the building anyways, but rather the people. So, even though at least one of these compassion properties did house a church for a short time, we are happy to update our post for the sake of clarity by changing the phrase “church buildings” to “NOBA properties.” But again, the basic facts remain the same. NOBA owns properties it plans to sell rather than use to house church plants.
4. B21 did not act in a way that lacks integrity.
Jay claims that our post was not Christlike, that we are ignorant of what is actually happening in NOLA, and that we had no right to talk about what’s happening in NOLA.
That’s not the case. There was no violation of Matthew 18, which governs local church interaction in cases of discipline. That is not the situation here. There is no sin issue to address here; rather, we were simply trying to advance a discussion.
Also, to suggest that we never talked to anyone locally in NOLA is incorrect. We have. Many are frustrated on both sides of the issue.
Furthermore, Dean Inserra, who is part of B21, is a key partner in Send NOLA, thus he has a vested interest in advancing the discussion about the local strategy to reach NOLA.
5. A further clarification
In the original post it was stated that the church building on Magazine St. was abandoned. Jay stated that the facility does house “Valance Street Baptist Church.” We are happy to update our blog to reflect this; the problem is the current status of the property on Magazine St. is confusing at best. Jay states that this church has “entered into a partnership with NOBA,” but that it’s not NOBA’s “prerogative to force a church to [do] anything, especially as it has to do with property.” Our question for the purposes of clarity would be, what exactly is meant by “entered into a partnership?” Is it something more formal than simply being part of the association? Does NOBA now own the property on Magazine St?
It is our understanding from a conversation with a local church planter that NOBA does own the property. This planter approached NOBA leadership about acquiring that building, and they were denied. So, while there is a church meeting on Magazine St. at present, the property belongs to NOBA and has at least been denied to 1 church planter.
This will be the last we address this issue. We will make the updates to the initial blog, and we stand by what we have written.
-The B21 Leadership Team