23 September 2013
Statement on Avanti Ministries' membership of the Evangelical Alliance
The Council of the Evangelical Alliance voted unanimously on 19 September to remove Avanti Ministries from membership of the Alliance with immediate effect.
The Alliance has worked with Avanti Ministries since October 2012 to seek the truth about allegations which questioned the veracity of Tony Anthony's testimony. These allegations were very serious and included that Tony did not spend his childhood in China, he was never Kung Fu world champion and never worked in close protection. There were also questions as to how truthful Tony had been about his involvement in a fatal road traffic accident.
The Alliance recommended that Avanti set up an independent panel who heard evidence over 3 months and compiled a substantial report. The panellists – John Langlois, Keith Civall and Robert Amess – were recommended because of their experience, integrity and character.
Following the report by the independent panel, Avanti have sadly chosen to only communicate with the Alliance through their lawyer. The Alliance worked with Avanti and their lawyer to agree a joint statement. Both parties agreed in the statement that the panel found that 'large sections of Taming the Tiger which claim to tell the truth, do not do so'.
It became clear from evidence in the public domain that following the fatal road traffic accident Tony Anthony was convicted of careless driving, failing to stop, failing to report an accident and perverting the course of justice. He was also convicted of four separate harassment offences. He was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment for the above offences.
We have encouraged Avanti Ministries to release the panel's report in the interest of openness and transparency. They have failed to do so.
We have asked Avanti Ministries to allow us to release the report. Avanti made clear through their lawyer they would not allow us to do this.
Avanti have issued a further statement that says the panel produced a report "challenging the integrity of some of the facts of Taming the Tiger. Tony has since confirmed that he is considering a revision to the book." This statement is deeply disappointing as it is inconsistent with the report and the joint statement.
Avanti have indicated that they are closing their ministry. However, this may take some time and they are still listed on the Charity Commission website and with Companies house.
They have also indicated that their relationship with Tony Anthony has ended. However, Tony has since issued a statement purporting to speak on behalf of the Avanti Board which they have failed to correct.
In light of all of the above, and having heard an oral summary of the confidential report, the Council of the Evangelical Alliance has removed Avanti Ministries from membership.
Phone: 07766 444650
Notes to Editors
The joint statement agreed and issued by the Evangelical Alliance and Avanti Ministries on 11 July is available to view here.
A question and answer with Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, on the statement and inquiry process was published on 19 July.
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org. www.eauk.org