Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Dear friends and family of Barry Smith,

...I first heard Barry speak ... when I was a teenager and
have always felt something genuine and sincere in him even when some around me
wrote him off as another "end times crazy". Over the years I have studied
history, politics and current events and begun to perceive dimensions, trends,
forces, etc. that made me deeply suspicious and curious. Barry's guidance and
insight has shed such tremendous light on what is happening in the world and
really helped me place a framework onto things that kept me up at night at
times. I lost all contact with any of Barry's teachings for what could easily
have been a decade and only recently saw a video where he was preaching in
Sydney this year. I just started to subscribe to the newsletter you all put out
finding stark revelation in it...

...the most obvious and tangible spirit Barry projected to me
was a deep and abiding love and faith for Jesus Christ -– it is amazing to me
that this passion was so real and made its way to audiences at all times even
when the message was in a sense on other kinds of issues...

...I also feel a sense of gratitude to him for simply being
the person he was. He has such a real belief in everything he said about Jesus
and this affected me deeply.

I honour him for a life lived so committed to carrying God's
love and message to the world -– it was so clear it had begun to take some
strain on him and that he had journeyed so far...

...God bless you with his eternal love.

Yours most sincerely,
Fabiola Rofael, NSW, Australia

Dear Fabiola

I appreciate your kind words with regard to my father. I
think when you relate to someone within a family, on a day to day basis -– and
know their character, strengths and weaknesses, and still admire their 'Christianity'
-– you've met someone special. Barry was under no illusions as to who he was
-– imperfections, gifts and all. He was such a nice man. Yet, by his own
admission, when he was younger he was stubborn and determined to win arguments
for Jesus and 'be right all the time'. Over the years he became sweeter and
sweeter as he let God become his vindicator. I pray that I can learn this sweet
spirit while I am relatively young -– to God be the glory! Editor


Dear Andrew

...what I am seeking is some advice concerning Bible
Prophecies which concern the church and this is of woman's ordination as
pastors, ministers, priests, etc.

Where do we stand on these issues as they concern me deeply.
Perhaps another light may shine on this question as I seek the truth through
your direction...

Sincerely
Howard, Victoria, Australia

Dear Howard

I believe the scriptures are rather clear on this whole topic
-– although obviously, looking around at various denominations, different
conclusions have been drawn. Next to speaking about tithing or the Muslim faith,
this topic is probably the most dangerous subject a person can be requested to
address (Proverbs 21:19 indicates that its better to live out in a desert than
with a contentious or angry woman - amen.)

As I understand it, God has ordained a leadership structure.
This structure is not politically correct, and is not based in any fight for
equality -– but works when followers of Christ will submit to it. Even
that word creates vibes for the insecure. For some unknown reason, we tend to
think that someone is 'less than' someone else when the word submission is
applied. This is ridiculous. We, both men and women, have absolutely equal value
-– there is no superiority one above the other -– regardless of the leadership
model we are given in Scripture! When Jesus is seen as 'lower than the angels
for the suffering of death' (Hebrews 2), don't think for a moment He is 'less
than' God the Father in any way whatsoever.

1 Corinthians 11:8-9 says, "For the man is not of the woman
but the woman is of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the
woman for the man" -– this is not a value judgement, this is part of a
leadership model.

Ephesians 5:21-33 are wonderful Scriptures which illuminate
this biblical order. It starts off with 'Submitting yourselves one to another
in the fear of God' -– what a beauty! It then continues on '...For the
husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the Church...'
and the most wonderful summary statement in verse 33 'Nevertheless let every
one of you in particular so love his wife as himself; and the wife see that she
reverence her husband'. There is a fail-safe summation rule for marriage -–
which also has implications in ministry life.

Now, with so many world views running wild and rampant in
this day and age -– and with many individuals sporting high levels of cynicism
and disappointment to match, the 'stumbling-block Scriptures' from 1 Timothy 2:11-12
cause concern, again for the insecure. "Let the woman learn in silence
with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor usurp authority over
the man, but to be in silence". My father was raised a Brethren (Plymouth not
Exclusive). Being 'people of the Word', to a Brethren the Scriptures speak
clearly, and ladies are not permitted to teach in Church. In some Assemblies, if
you are not male, you do not speak or participate whatsoever. Other assemblies
allow woman to lead in praise and worship and read Scriptures.

Here is the bombshell -– 'men and women were created
differently for a reason'! There is indeed biological variation -– for a
reason! Men do not = women and women do not = men. We are meant to compliment
not compete - but we are different, and our roles vary.

How often have I met resentful men -– whose wives have taken
over leadership.

And resentful wives -– whose husbands seem incapable of
leading.

And so it goes in the Church. Putting together all of the
Scriptures I am aware of, and the Hebrew customs of the day (context), women were
not
permitted to speak under the old covenant -– certainly not within the
temple. Today? I believe that provided a woman is in good relationship with her
husband, she is able to participate in ministry as God gives her gifts. Don't
confuse this with equality, value or 'whose greater than who' -– it's God's
order for leadership. The obvious question is what about single women in
ministry? I can't answer that. I know some beautiful women of God who fit into
this category, and they serve the body of Christ extremely well. In each case
they are in good relationship with their Pastors. I've also witnessed some 'shockers'
whose whole ministries could be described as manipulative and emotively driven.
I have seen a good number of married women who are not in submission to their
husbands (for many reasons!!!) who end up in the same boat.

The question arises -– why did God create biological
variation? Why this leadership structure?

In the Moriel News and Prayer Letter edition 16, some
very interesting and sensible points are raised. Jesus revealed himself to women
first -– the same thing often happens today because women are more sensitive
than men. Hearing God's voice seems easier for women than their insensitive (often
distracted - editors addition
) counterparts. Since the fall men have become
insensitive and women hypersensitive.

"Men are reliant on female sensitivity, and women are
reliant on male protection... why is it easier for women to get saved? The
reason is they are more sensitive and impressionable, traits that can be either
assets or liabilities... so when a husband and wife pray together in seeking
direction from the Lord, usually the wife will hear from the Lord first. Men are
reliant on female sensitivity, because since the fall, men have become
insensitive. On the other hand, anything that God intends for good, the devil
will use for evil. Because women are more sensitive, they are also more
vulnerable to spiritual seduction, to being mislead into hearing the voice of a
counterfeit spirit and thinking it is the voice of the Holy Spirit or to be led
by their feelings. Male authority in the Bible is not based on bigger muscles;
it's based on protection. The serpent beguiled the women... Thus just as men
are reliant on female sensitivity, women are reliant on male protection. That is
why the leadership in a church must be male, and why the husband and father must
be the head of the family."

I said in starting, it's certainly not PC -– but it works.
In closing, let me throw one more spanner in the works. I pray that in the
future we will see the people of God emphasising 'The Whole Family' once
again -– not so much the divisions of family: Saturday pm meeting ministry to
the men -– Monday to Wednesday pm meetings ministry to the women -– Friday pm
Youth... "...and families try to get some time together this week". A 'focus
convention' once in a while is great! But numerous times throughout the year,
I believe we create an environment which cultures the wrong spirit. There are
roles, responsibilities and correct attitudes spoken about in God's leadership
model. He gives us free will as well...
Ed


Dear Andrew

It was with great sadness that we heard of the death of your
father, Barry, here in England on 26/06/02.

My wife and I were present for two nights at Yate Leisure
Centre at the beginning of his UK tour, including the night you were also
present and sang with your wife Saskia.

We have valued Barry's ministry during many years a) when
visiting this country, b) through his books and c) not least, through the Omega
Times. We have always been aware of his love of his family and God's love for
families...

As you wrote in May 2002 edition we would encourage you all
to keep looking 'up' as in 1 John 3:2-3 -– "but we know
that when he shall appear we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is,
and every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure!

Yours sincerely in Jesus.
Brian and Joy Dodds, Bristol, England.

Dear Brian and Joy

I well remember the two nights at the Yate Leisure Centre. I
was blessed in those meetings! It was the last time I saw my father on earth -–
the next time will be at the fulfilment of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18...and I am
'comforted with these words'.

Thanks for the exhortation to keep looking up. I am
doing my best to. It's so easy to become bogged down by 'the work' that I
lose sight of Jesus -– the Lord of the work. I do look forward to seeing Him
and being like Him. It's very special to know that dad already has.

We're two months down the line now and it is rather painful
to look around for 'the one who has always represented security and answers',
but not see him. Mum is doing very well for someone who loved and spoilt her
lovely man to bits!

These are wonderful days to be living, and I have every
intention of using my time well for the sake of Christ and those He died to take
care of.
Ed


Dear Barry (written prior to 27.06.02)

...I'm compelled to write to you after reading this months
edition of Omega Times...

...I am always encouraged by the gently honest insights of
Rebecca Capell; cheered, and sometimes chastened, by the lively writing of the
Andersons; helped and admonished by Andrew Smith. What can I say -– I look
forward so much to each edition, and when it arrives I hungrily devour it. My
only regret -– it doesn't last long enough. That's not a complaint -– just
a sign of appreciation...

...Omega Times is a wake-up call for believers everywhere,
and it's so exciting to read the articles that show us that Jesus will soon be
here...

With Christian Love,
Val Amor, NSW, Australia

Dear Val

Thank you -– there is plenty to do, and many ways of doing
the work. Horses for courses, we continue because some people enjoy the flavour
of Omega Times. We want to develop it further so that it is informative,
encouraging and challenging -– able to be passed on to friends and family who
don't know God. There are plenty of people to reach with the 'fantastic good
news' of Jesus love and forgiveness. The gospel is such good news if you are
needing to hear it!

Blessings in Jesus
Ed


Dear Barry, Andrew and Staff,

... Reading in the Omega Times of recent issues I have come
across in the letters to the editor section the subject of church attendance.
This is where my problem is. I am residing in Sydney's eastern suburbs and I
am having trouble finding a suitable church! Impossible I hear you say! I have
an attitude problem! is another come back, but instead of categorizing me,
please tell me the answer to my dilemma!

You see I am at the moment one of the "don't go to church
boys" and I will tell you why and then I would appreciate you giving me an
answer instead of condemning me for my actions. Firstly I will tell you that I
am a 36 year old married man that is a born again believer in Christ and I have
been blessed with gifts from the Lord in the form of 2 beautiful daughters and a
wife who all love the Lord Jesus Christ earnestly. Furthermore I am not woolly
thinking nor wet behind the ears and have seen the rougher side to life and dare
I be so bold to say I have seen life in circles that most are not privy too, so
I really should not be placed in the "Johnny come lately" category, having
said that I consider myself no greater or lesser a man but certainly an amount
of experience of worldly affairs and common sense has been obtained over the
years but above all through the word of God.

I know attending church is the correct thing to do and we are
encouraged to fellowship more in these last days with good reason, so I am not
being lazy or defiant in my non attendance but wary of a lot of false doctrines
and additions through various ministries and churches. I am having trouble
accepting the incredible push on wealth. Please correct me if I am wrong but
Jesus was ans still is not a fan of the money system (well he is not if you read
the Bible)...

...Then take a close look at the 10th commandment.
Exodus 20:17 -– "You shall not covert your neighbours house; you shall not
covert your neighbours wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor
his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbours.". Does not
teachings of wealth and status encourage such behaviour to enable the breach of
this very commandment given by God?... Are we not told to store our riches in
Heaven where they will not rot, get eater by moths or rust away?

I would love to remind people (and I am not without my own
faults) that Jesus was a humble man and although was then and is now the Son of
God he blended in like the average folk when it came to earthly materials. Let
it be said to the preachers of prosperity and empowerment that the Lord Jesus
Christ entered Jerusalem on a donkey, not an Arabian horse to serve both Jews
and gentiles not be served himself, and he was dressed in the average attire not
any designer labels or get around making a fashion statement...

Tongues is an interesting subject and although it too is a
gift why is there such an emphasis on having to speak this way. Is it not
considered the least of the gifts?...

I am not making excuses so I can lay in bed and watch the
television or attend weekend activities. In fact I turn on the radio on Sunday
morning and listen to a minister by the name of Frank McGuinnes on 2CBA FM and
listen to his sermon, read the Bible with the kids and do the best I can.

... why go to a church if the teachings are false and
obviously misleading. Did not the apostle Paul name those who he considered
enemies of the gospel? Church is the people and not the steeple. Never in my
life have I seen so much empire building going on in church organizations, and I
can never remember, recall or refer to Jesus referring to his ministry days as
Jesus inc. and him making so much merchandise out of himself as there is these
days...

...Personally I was of the opinion that the Holy Bible was
the instruction manual to life here on earth and beyond! And it always makes me
wonder just how much time these self help books take away form people who should
be seeking the truth and guidance of God rather than the opinions of mere
mortals...

...Having read some of the letters to Ed. in the Omega Times
I can't help but feel the problem I am having is common place amongst a lot of
the people that listen to what you have to say on prophetic issues and world
affairs in relation to Christian living and I feel confident to say that you are
serving God very well not to mention his people and I am grateful to ISM for
their commitment to Christ...

..this letter is a plea for help and guidance and if you
could give me a little instruction or answer or even make me eat humble pie if
anything I said is inaccurate I would appreciate any input at this stage. I
remember always what my Father in Heaven said "above all things mans heart is
deceitful" and in this day and age only a fool could and would deny it.
Seeking your response.

Love in Christ and all Sincerity,
Warren Smith & Family, NSW, Australia

Dear Warren

I think you are right in saying that 'many people are
struggling to find the reality of a good church family'. We receive a lot of
mail to this effect! It's strange that you can be surrounded by so many people
(Sydney) and so many Churches, and still find real fellowship elusive. I
understand -– having been in a similar position, in one place we lived, our mid
week fellowship with believers became our main source of spiritual input and
fellowship. I sense your spirit and would like to suggest a couple of things
which may help. I am writing also for others who may be in the same boat, so
please don't think I'm attacking you.

It's possible that you just haven't made the right
connections with people of like mind and purpose. Have you spent time visiting
various fellowships in your area? There are usually pockets of life in most
places, as arranged by God.

Is your issue attitudinal? Is there a regular pattern of
disappointment occurring in your life that could very well indicate that the
issue is your attitude? Eg. The lady who says "I've had five husbands and
they were all problems"...

Having answered the obvious questions and finding that we are
still without answers: Become proactive. Do some Bible study -– learn the Word
of God, and then teach it to others. Start a 'relevant fellowship' with
people of like mind in your area. The template to follow is 'whatever meets
the needs' you find. I believe fellowship is essential -– it stops people
becoming 'weird' and 'way out there' on a limb.

Keep your spirit sweet, speak for God and what His
Word says about living. Don't become a crusader. Don't become consumed with
'the deception within Churches' unless God specifically calls you to such a
ministry. You will know he has called you to that type of work because He will
have prepared your heart -– and you will cry for those you wish to help out of
deception, rather than getting your jollies from exposes in God's Name. You
will see the situation through God's eyes -– He loves even the deceived!
There's too much to be done 'for God' than to be bogged down with the
unimportant or work we are not assigned to. The clean up process within the
house of God belongs to individual Christians, and the Good Shepherd -– He gave
His life for the sheep, what a lovely Saviour.

I found a little note book in my Dad's office which
contained a word of encouragement to those of us who want to grow in evangelism.
It's actually how Dad lived his life when he wasn't in a pulpit somewhere.
He writes "You want to be an evangelist? 1. Take food to someone who is sick
in your street 2. Set up a house meeting 3. Get out and meet people in the open
air (outside of Church or 'your house') 4. Get in your car and go." He
finishes with a quote from Leonard Ravenhill, "Everybody wants my mantle.
Nobody wants my sackcloth and ashes".

Let's pay the price together Warren -– the work is there.
Ed