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Evangelist author Tony Anthony's Taming the Tiger 'not true', says inquiry

An inquiry into evangelist and founding Director of Avanti Ministries Tony Anthony has concluded that parts of his book Taming the Tiger, which claims to tell his story, are not true.

Following discussions between the Evangelical Alliance and Avanti Ministries, Avanti agreed to set up an independent panel to investigate allegations against Mr Anthony. The Avanti report concluded, based on the evidence submitted to it, that large sections of the book and associated materials are fake.

A joint Evangelical Alliance and Avanti Ministries statement said:

"In October 2012, the Evangelical Alliance received a detailed complaint about the validity of the testimony of an Avanti Ministries' evangelist, Tony Anthony, and his book Taming the Tiger.

"Following discussions between Evangelical Alliance and Avanti Ministries, Avanti agreed to set up an independent panel nominated by the Alliance to investigate in a confidential manner the allegations against Tony Anthony.

"The independent inquiry panel was made up of three respected members of the UK council of the Evangelical Alliance: John Langlois (chair of panel), Keith Civval and Robert Amess.

"The panel produced its report on 26 June 2013 and concluded, based on the evidence submitted to it, that large sections of the book Taming the Tiger, and associated materials, which claim to tell the true story of Tony Anthony's life, do not do so.

"Both the Evangelical Alliance and Avanti Ministries take serious note of the findings of the report and as a result Avanti has concluded that it is not appropriate to continue to support Taming the Tiger.

"The board of Avanti Ministries are now considering the ramifications for Avanti Ministries' future. "The Alliance and Avanti Ministries would like to thank the independent inquiry panel for their diligence in producing its report.

"The Alliance and Avanti Ministries are deeply saddened by the findings of the panel.  

"However, they recognise the good work that Avanti and Tony Anthony have done over the years around the world and the impact this will have on the charity, and specifically Tony and his family."

Gavin Drake is a journalist who specialises in religion. He also carried out an investigation into Mr Anthony and tells Premier's Victoria Laurence during the News Hour what prompted him to do so:

Taming the Tiger is distributed in the UK through Christian publisher Authentic Media and has sold more than 1.5 million copies in 25 countries.

Mr Anthony travels the world preaching the gospel in prisons, schools and churches as far away as Asia, South Africa and South America. Speaking to Premier's Victoria Laurence during the News Hour Mr Anthony says he has done nothing wrong and will set the record straight:

Questions were asked about the authenticity of Taming the Tiger ever since it was first published in 2004.

A small group of concerned church leaders set about investigating Mr Anthony's background and their findings were presented to the trustees of Avanti, the Evangelical Alliance and Mr Anthony's publisher, Authentic Media.

A statement explains why they made their findings public:

"From the outset, the group's members sought to establish direct contact with Tony Anthony and Avanti directors with a view to addressing these serious issues.

"It is only because of the failure of all such efforts to achieve the kind of open, constructive dialogue that could be expected of a Christian evangelist and organisation that the research group has decided, regretfully, to follow Jesus' recommendation in such cases to "tell it to the church", in order to warn others and draw attention to the need for integrity in the Church at large. 

"Now that the official inquiry is over, the group's hope is that its findings and their implications can be addressed with compassion, concern and gentleness."

Premier contacted Authentic Media and is awaiting a response. 

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