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Barry Smith

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put under fire by Philip Powell

I met Barry and May Smith in 1979 when he and his family did an evangelistic crusade at the Katoomba Christian Fellowship in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, where I was pastor at the time.
Contact CWM EVEN back then he was controversial in respect of some of his End Time teachings, which was both good and bad, being as we were in a bible college setting, but the thing that shone through was his love for Jesus and his excellent presentation of the gospel. No one in his meetings was left in any doubt as to what had to be done to become a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Barry always explained the steps that had to be taken and the commitment that must be made with clear and direct reference to scripture and has continued to do over the years.
During my eight year pastorate at Kyabram in Northern Victoria (1981 to 1988) we invited the Smith family to do two separate series of evangelistic meetings. At the first I was a bit surprised at the nature of his advertising, which referred to him as a "modern day prognosticator", which I had looked upon as a term associated more with clairvoyance than with bible prophecy. However I came to realise that Barry was using this approach as a sort of a "sprat to catch a mackerel" and certainly it worked. Our meetings were packed and there were many long-term first time commitments to Christ.
During those years in the 80's I shared some camp meetings in Adelaide with Barry when he spoke on PROPHECY and I spoke on PRAYER. Later he took a series of End Time meetings at the large Paradise Assembly where I was based as National Secretary of AoG in Australia. Always his preaching of the gospel has been clear and consistent. Many pastors have confirmed the fact that those who are "saved" in a Barry Smith crusade usually stick and the reason for this is that he is so clear in his preaching of the gospel and his abundant use of the Word of God. 
Like all of us, Barry is human and does make mistakes. For example, in a crusade about the time of the USA presidential elections following George Bush's term, Barry told approximately 3,000 people in Adelaide that it was already determined that Bush would win over Bill Clinton. Within days the exact opposite happened. Honest Barry immediately acknowledged his mistake and apologised in a letter, which pastor Andrew Evans read to the entire congregation.
Now Barry Smith has done it again with his Y2K projections. In his latest book, "I Spy With My Little Eye" page viii he writes, "By the 1st January 2000, the economy as we know it today, will cease to exist!" Then again on page 2, "This author (BS) is racing to finish this book and get it out to the public before 31st December 1999. Why? Because within a period of two months (Nov/December 1999), nobody will be buying books as the Old Word (sic) Order comes to a close and the New World Order commences on the 1st January 2000."  On pages 103, 107 and 116 we read, "The New World Order, announced by Skull and Bones member, ex-U.S. President George Bush, commences at 12:01 a.m., 1st January 2000", "Welcome to the New World Order" and "The bubble will burst at the end of 1999."
As a result of these types of "prognostications" which have issued from Barry in his writings and preaching over the past recent times a number of concerned people have contacted CWM asking whether he is a false prophet and how these types of "blunders" affect the perception of him and his message. We decided to face the matter head on and get it directly from the "horse's mouth".
Please note: Vanguard and CETF teach from the bible that prophecy is two things:
FIRSTLY, in its simple form, as practised in a New Testament assembly of God's people, it was principally a FORTH TELLING and not a FORETELLING. In other words, usually it did not purport to predict anything. Scripture instructs us that simple prophecy should contain the elements of "exhortation, edification and comfort" (1 Corinthians 14:3). If none of these is present it does not qualify as prophecy.
SECONDLY, in its more widely understood meaning where it does foretell future events, scripture says that prophecy should be judged (1 Corinthians 14:29). In considering the following may we all "judge righteously" as scripture requires _ c/f John 7:24.

The term `Prognosticator' was initially used, in relation to my ministry, by a local church in their advertising blurb in Christchurch, New Zealand. It would appear that the word literally means `before' and `knowing' — indicating the `prophetic'. As per usual, our meetings were directed at the unsaved. The church involved was effective in getting the attention of both new age people and occultists who turned up to hear `the gospel'.
My mistake with the book, "I Spy With My Little Eye" was that in the rush to get the book out before Christmas (2000) I failed to diligently check the wording. I used the word "would", instead of the word "could".
I was wrong with the timing for the crash of the world's monetary system, yet it is true that the New Age pyramid meeting was still held in Cairo, to introduce what they called the New Millennium.
I now know that the Y2K bug was planned for another purpose altogether. The house framework for the New World Order is being steadily built, and on the 31/12/99 the governments of the world, even in poorer countries, were cleverly forced into upgrading their computer systems in preparation for global communications under the term, World Government. The `wiring' was put in place at a cost of $650 billion (US dollars), and the planners pulled off an incredible feat of manipulation in the process.

PLP:  What Barry is your calling? Are you an evangelist, a teacher or a prophet or maybe a combination?
B.S: Many people feel it necessary to have a title to help describe their line of work. I do not in any way see myself as a prophet. I have made this clear over the years that I have been involved in ministry. I have never received a word from God telling me that this is my calling. One of my books, and a radio program in which we were involved, have been called "Better than Nostradamus". Some people have suggested that I am referring to myself as being a `better prophet than Nostradamus' when in fact I am saying the Word of God alone is always accurate…
I personally do not see myself as an evangelist. Relatively few people turn to Christ as a result of my lectures. I was a school teacher prior to my `preaching work'. I have continued to `teach', but utilise the subject of `end times' — taken from the scriptures in relation to current affairs and events — as an effective tool in presenting the gospel.Certainly, we have had prophecies given to us, from time to time, stating that we would be used by God in taking this end times message to the world. So far, we have only preached in 31 countries, therefore it is a matter of wait and see.
PLP: Have you exceeded or gone beyond your calling in making certain projections? 
B.S: Yes certainly. My son Andrew has often warned me about jumping to hasty conclusions. This impetuous nature of mine is a constant source of amusement to my family, yet has proven catastrophic when put in writing for future generations to read and criticise. Unfortunately, other material printed in "I Spy...", which was from credible sources, can now be categorised as suspect because of the error with Y2K. I remember reading a book by a well-known Christian author, who suggested Anwar Saddat may be the antichrist. The day I read that statement, Saddat was assassinated. At that point, the whole book, in my eyes lost its credibility. That's a sad, but true reflection of how humanity generally reacts to a mistake. I can therefore assume without a hint of self-pity that I have lost credibility. Yet I continue to look forward to speaking to anyone who will listen. There remains a pressing urgency about the message of Jesus' return. Nothing basic has changed.
PLP:  Do you actually predict events in the name of the Lord (see Deuteronomy 18:22) or simply make conclusions based on available information?
B.S: I do not predict events in the Name of the Lord, and never will unless I receive a clear revelation to do so. If I had done so, stoning to death would be my reward as spoken about in Deuteronomy 18. I simply make conclusions based on available information. And the Lord said to me, "Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others. But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day". Over the last 28 years I have obeyed the message by writing and speaking wherever possible. The end-times message to me is simply the `bait' we use to draw the fish out of their homes to meetings. I mention all sorts of things in the meetings, from the Lindy Chamberlain trial to the sinking of the Mikail Lermontov and we get good audiences. I take Billy Graham's advice, and "Always finish at the cross". Unfortunately, certain preachers make it clear that they think they are so in touch with God spiritually, that they can predict definite events in God's Name. I am too frightened, of the Lord to do this.
PLP: How then do you explain the statement in your latest book "A few days later, upon our arrival back in New Zealand, in obedience to the DIVINE INSTRUCTION, I printed a little prophetic pamphlet. Then later a series of six books, this one making it seven"? This seems to suggest that God told you to write what you wrote, which, in the light of the predictive element, is tantamount to prophesying in the Name of the Lord. Was this a mistake or can you explain it?
BS: The divine encounter I had with God was a one off experience. It has never happened again, but was certainly the launching pad, which gave me the confidence to get going. Remember the detail that I read in Rarotonga, "The things that I plan will surely come to pass". Not the things Barry Smith says although the overall theme of the message is being vindicated almost daily.
PLP: So what about Y2K now? In I Spy With My Little Eye page 107 you wrote: "Y2K is a world-wide crisis. Even if it is fixed, it will collapse again on the 29th February 2000 (a leap year)." Both dates have passed without anything significant happening. How, in your mind, was the later date linked to January 1 and Y2K?
B.S: I have plenty of information, which tells us that many computer-based systems did in fact fail on the dates mentioned. However, if I were to emphasise these failures now, folk would no doubt accuse me of trying to justify myself. Banks in particular suffered masses of problems, but as the economy is built around the word `confidence', all of this was played down or hushed up. I therefore feel to `let sleeping dogs lie'. Yes, the leap year date of 29 Feb (2000 ) affected certain major computer equipment, as did 01 Jan 2000.
Computer experts warned that it was possible that we would experience problems on both these dates — although 29/02/00 was a different type of situation, being a leap year. I have taught for many years that the world monetary system will crash making way for the Revelation 13 `mark of the beast' system. Indeed David Rockefeller, in a recorded statement said, "... all that is required is a crisis to introduce the new world order". It was natural to assume that the Y2K bug could provide such a crisis. I was wrong about the timing, but maintain that a crisis will emerge which will bring about what the bible predicts.
PLP: Do you have any other dates in mind?
B.S: No. I have no other dates in mind.
PLP: Are these sorts of projections based on the conspiracy theories of extremists such as Texe Marrs?
B.S: No!
PLP: Do you get any of your information from Texe Marrs, who a number of people see as part of the lunatic fringe of bible prophecy teachers?
B.S: Naturally I read other's books to see what they are saying about prophecy. Sometimes I pick up a clue, which can be helpful. A danger today is that people are referring to this whole end-times topic as a conspiracy `theory'. This is not a theory, although aspects of the subject remain hazy.
PLP : A well known pastor in Australia recently suggested that you would be well advised to leave the speculation out of your preaching and keep to the Word of God. What do you say to this suggestion in the light of your false projections about Y2K?
B.S: The well-known pastor in Australia must have been reading my thoughts; he is to be commended for his wise thinking.
PLP: Will your faux pas in respect of Y2K, undermine your credibility in respect of your essential message or your peripheral speculative and conspiratorial teachings?
B.S: Yes, in my own eyes I have lost my credibility. The temptation to `toss in the towel' has been there, but instead I hope to move in a new direction, still endeavouring to win souls for the kingdom of God. The Y2K blunder, I trust, will not undermine my gospel preaching. For some of course, it will always be a hindrance.
PLP: It has been suggested that you have been misled on account of your distancing yourself from other End Time ministries such as CWM (Philip Powell) and Moriel (Jacob Prasch), who have been ostracised by their former colleagues. Do you think there could be an element of truth in this?
B.S: In late 1969 I was involved in a tragic bus accident. At that time, a powerful message from the Lord was written down for me, instructing me that this absolutely shattering experience was `no accident', and that I must not rely on any man, but on the Lord. For this reason, whilst in many cases I appreciate the gifting of God to certain men, I do not allow myself to be publicly linked with other ministries, which could polarise listeners. It's not about `my teaching' or `his teaching' (Paul OR Apollos). It's about encouraging people to develop a personal, unshakeable faith in Christ Jesus `for themselves'. I freely admit that CWM and Moriel both have the right to preach what they believe is God's directive for them. Our God is a God of variety. I deliberately try not to criticise other ministries because of Jesus' Words, "Let the wheat and tares grow up together". We read that God will send angels to root out the tares or weeds at the appointed time. We are warned in the scriptures, that in the process of trying to pull out the tares, we may in fact pull out the wheat. For this purpose God reserved the right to fulfil this particular task Himself. Observations of churches who have majored in this area of trying to rectify all wrongs have lead me to believe that often, all that is left are congregations of bitter people, examining every ministry and Christian persons' life with a fine tooth comb — instead of enjoying the message of the Word of God which breaths life. Certainly we need discernment to keep our own Christian lives on track, but in my case I feel it safer to address doctrine, rather than attacking names. Further, if we bite and devour each other, we shall be consumed one of another. In simple English, "If I eat you, and you eat me, there will be on one left to preach the gospel".
I must note here that others see this differently, and state that even the apostle Paul named those he considered to be enemies of the gospel. I personally feel that it is a huge call to name other men negatively. There are different ministry emphases — but this one is not mine. Years ago I was asked what I thought about a certain ministry. The phrase attributed to DL Moody I felt was applicable: "I like the way he's doing it better than the way I'm not". I still use that phrase today.
PLP: Have you been compromised or have you yourself compromised your position in order to keep your platforms?
B.S: I have in no way compromised myself to gain a platform: I will speak to any group who invites me. I preach in churches, pubs, schools and universities. This message is for all, and the Lord has continued to use it to reach various people, in various ways.
PLP: What do you think about the bible warnings regarding "apostasy" and the diminishing of true faith and the increase of iniquity in the End Times — c/f 2 Thess 2:1-12; Luke 18:8 and Matt 24:12 etc?
B.S: I preach on the Apostasy _ apo = "away from" plus stacia = "the foundation". Like no other age we are experiencing a move away from the foundation, which has been laid for us. My emphasis is on the message, not the messenger. Every man should be convinced in his own mind, with regard to the state of `the Christian church' and what he/she can do about it. My methods may differ from yours and so forth. I think we should make room for others. It is a big world where the majority of unbelievers don't even know we're here!
PLP: In your view is there anything in the bible to suggest that there will be a great End Time genuine revival as is being prophesied by those in the Revival Now camp?
B.S: In my opinion, the book of Joel speaks of revival. Also, the prophet Isaiah (59:19b) speaks of God's standard being raised up. This world government plan is so bad, I am convinced the Lord will perform supernatural acts in our day, but it will be instigated by Him, and for Him — not men. First, the shaking — that those things which cannot be shaken may remain! My observations tell me that today too many are promoting the signs, when actually true signs follow the preaching of the gospel.
PLP: Where to from here? How long have you been on the road? How are future appointments and plans? Have you any final words for our readers?
B.S: Many church groups no longer teach the rapture or the second coming of Christ. Many of our old `platforms' and venues have been closed to us for some time. I have been preaching for 47 years now. I preach by invitation — not necessity. This year I have invitations to minister all over the world.
Finally, I see myself as a small cog in God's big machine. Any gift I have, I freely confess, was received from the Lord, so there is nothing to boast about. Likewise, if it were just about `Barry Smith and his ministry successes' I would be discouraged beyond repair — but it's not. In the bigger picture the battle continues; it is the Lord's, and we are His workmanship. If the Lord shows me that my days of travelling and preaching are finished, I am quite happy to spend time cutting the lawn, pottering in my shed and writing.

[ end of interview ]

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Appeared in Volume 6.1 April 2000

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-Last revised-Friday, 24 January 2003