Why was Tony Anthony investigated by the EA and why did Avanti Ministries close?
From the information we have gathered from Tony and Sara, the reasons are as follows:
There was growing information being circulated in the public domain strongly stating and suggesting Tony’s testimony in Taming the Tiger was not true. A group of people who evidently believed Tony was being at best fraudulent used various types of internet and media platforms to make their beliefs as widely known as possible. This went on for several years and was beginning to impact some of the missions and training sessions being delivered by Tony and his teams.
Both Tony and Sara Anthony met with their Church Leader towards the end of 2012, who told them that the Evangelical Alliance (EA) had made telephone contact to discuss the matter. The EA made the kind offer to conduct an independent investigation on behalf of Avanti Ministries to look into the allegations being made and to help Avanti Ministries build a robust defence against them. This proposal was discussed by the Avanti Board and Tony who unanimously agreed to this course of action and looked forward to a favourable outcome.
In April 2013, Avanti Ministries commissioned the Evangelical Alliance to carry out a private and independent investigation into the allegations being made. Without going into the detail, the method and thoroughness of the investigation and parameter setting of ‘reasonable’ and ‘unreasonable’ evidence was not what Avanti Ministries understood they had signed up to. By this stage, the investigation had taken on a whole new dynamic altogether.
Following the conclusion of the investigation, Avanti Ministries had requirements placed upon them by the EA, which included the issuing of a joint statement from both organisations. The limited timescale and heavy handed approach forced Avanti Ministries to seek legal support. Avanti Ministries did not agree to the initial statement given to them and there were hurried negotiations to get the final statement accurately worded before it was issued to the general public. The Avanti Directors did not fully agree with this statement but felt their hands were tied. The joint statement that did go out was “the best” that the Avanti solicitor could negotiate with the EA given the circumstances. To the Avanti Directors and Tony himself, the whole process felt more like a carefully executed prosecution, rather than an exercise of conciliation. Perhaps the greatest concern was the willingness of the EA panel to accept the “evidence and theories” produced by those making the accusations as fact, rather than seeking their own impartial corroboration of evidence. There was also a rising concern regarding the reason why people in Tony’s life story had not been interviewed, rendering the investigation inconclusive.
As a team of volunteers, this set of circumstances had developed into something far beyond any of the Avanti Directors experience and expertise. Legal advice suggested that with the damage to the ministry’s reputation and that of Tony coupled with limited financial resources, the best course of action would be to release the individual ministries operating under the Avanti umbrella. Everyone involved had been overwhelmed and shocked at the process, its working, and the outcome and felt let down, therefore the Directors took the heartbreaking decision to close the organisation down.
On a positive note it is encouraging to know that all of the ministries previously under the Avanti umbrella continue to flourish, and to see the continued spreading of The Gospel. The Lord Jesus Christ said, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24)
The private and confidential report belongs to Avanti Ministries. Despite this, confidential statements, documents and large parts of the report have been placed into the public domain. It has been disturbing to learn that this information was being distributed by a member of the EA panel itself. This is clearly not in the spirit of the original signed agreement, which stated:
“3. If for any reason any publicity or questions arise as a result of this enquiry or otherwise it will be for the Ministry to respond to them, not the Panel.
4. The Panel shall undertake their duties in a professional manner and in a spirit of Christian conciliation as set out in Scripture, their prime goal being the glory of God, the honour of His Name and the healing of any divisions in the Body of Christ.”
Amongst others, my daughter was one of the people who received emails from Mr Langlois with many documents from this report attached. On receipt, she notified the appropriate persons.
In the light of the legal discussion surrounding this, we are not in a position to provide any further detail at this time.