Why has Tony Anthony not made any public response or attempt to defend himself from the various accusations that have been made against him?
Following the completion of the Panel’s report (as mentioned in question 42), it became necessary for the Avanti Ministries Board of Directors to obtain legal advice. The recommendation made by the solicitor was that everyone should say as little as possible because “raw data” can be easily mis-communicated within the public domain. This approach was adopted by the Directors and by Tony. Avanti and Tony put statements on their websites and Tony engaged in one impromptu telephone interview from Premier. They opted to say nothing else.
Often, we can interpret silence on the part of someone who comes under accusation as guilt – Jesus never argued with anyone. The Word of God came through Him and Jesus never begged anyone to believe in Him nor did He try to convince them of His authenticity. The Gospel of Mark records “And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing. Then Pilate asked Him again, saying “Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify against You!” But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marvelled.” (Mark: 15 vv 3 – 5).
We were deeply saddened to receive sight of vulgar and abusive communications sent to Tony via email and social media around the time that the EA report had been completed. We were even more alarmed to learn that a source of these communications had also been a source of information accepted into the report. In response to this, there were trusted supporters who encouraged Tony to pursue legal action. (Note – due to the strength of content, it is inappropriate to publish the communications on this website).
In October 2013, my daughter arranged a day of prayer and fasting in response to Tony’s situation. At that time Tony asked that we particularly ask God for wisdom regarding whether or not he should pursue a legal route in seeking to bring an end to the information being circulated about him.
During the week of the prayer and fasting, Tony contacted us to say that he was not going to follow the legal route. He told us that from scripture and from counsel from trusted Christian friends he believed he should look to God in the situation. He spoke about being moved by Jesus’ dignified silence during his ‘trials’. He said he was going to step back from the desire to defend himself in any way and from striking back at those making accusations against him. I was heartened at this young man’s attitude and deliberate step of obedience in following Christ’s example during times of testing and trial. Despite having been advised and given the opportunity to take legal action against the comments being made, he told us that he believed it would not be honouring to God to take this matter to court (in line with 1 Corinthians 6 vv 1 – 8). The Apostle Paul wrote, “Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded.” (verse 7). Tony indicated it was his understanding that the Apostle Paul was concerned with the testimony of the believers and that it would be far better for each of us to be taken advantage of rather than pushing a person even further away from Christ by taking them to court. In other words, a person’s eternal soul is more important than a legal battle of rights and wrongs.
Despite the understandable feelings of hurt and frustration, this has been the continued reason Tony has given to us for not speaking out publically.