At The Hub, our we place great pride in the powerful, life changing message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the testimony of his followers.
It is with great sadness therefore, that we write this post.
Since it’s initial publication, Taming the Tiger (ISBN 978-1860244810) and Cry of the Tiger (ISBN 978-1860247088)—the story of Tony Anthony, published in the UK by Authentic Media and written by Tony Anthony in collaboration with Angela Little—have proved to be inspirational and uplifting to many people, and many have been saved by his testimony, both in person and in print.
However, the story has faced some scrutiny due to the intensity of its presented narrative. Since day one, many have expressed a level of skepticism about many of the specific details of Tony’s life, including his claims to be a three time as a Kung Fu World Champion, his early childhood in China, and the specific timeline of the story, amongst many other concerns. In addition, very serious claims have been made that specific Kung Fu training regiments and trials described in the book have been borrowed from Kung Fu TV shows, or else, plagiarised martial arts websites, and from a biography of Bruce Lee.
In late 2008, a number of sources, including the Rational Response Squad, numerous Kung Fu groups and concerned Christian leaders began in depth research into the story, and were unable to find specific information to verify the claims of the book, in many cases uncovering evidence to the contrary.
Throughout this time, Mr. Anthony and the ministry he founded, Avanti Ministries, have maintained that the book is essentially accurate, and have printed statements affirming this fact.
Though they admitted that certain names of organizations, groups and people—including Mr. Anthony’s own birth name, and the name under which he competed in martial arts competitions in China—and specific places had been changed to protect his family, and those involved, they contended that this was normal for the genre.
They have also also stressed that the types of competitions and work he completed was underground and on the fringes of lawful society, and so online research would therefore be unlikely to yield any results, and that providing specific information would have potentially devastating consequences for all involved.
They admitted that the book should have contained a disclaimer stating this, and assured everyone that they were working to ensure that this would addressed in future editions, which would also clarify the timeline, and incorporate certain facts about Mr. Anthony’s family history which were not known to him at the initial time of publication.
Unfortunately, the statements were not enough to quiet his critics and did not address the core issues with the narrative presented.
After many attempts by concerned Christians to address this situation in person had failed, evidence of Mr. Anthony’s deception was presented to Avanti Ministries, Authentic Media, and the Evangelical Alliance.
The Alliance were invited by Avanti to conduct a full and formal independent investigation, into the claims. Following the completion of this investigation, they were forced to conclude that parts of the story told in Taming the Tiger and it’s associated resources, and told in person by Tony Anthony since 2004 is, in essence, a lie. The full statement of which can be found here.
This announcement sent shockwaves through the Christian book selling community, especially in light of the levels of support offered to Mr. Anthony by Avanti in the past. Authentic Media, alongside Avanti, immediately withdrew their support for him, and withdrew all of his products from sale, as did The Hub.
The Hub has contacted Authentic Media, The Evangelical Allience and Avanti Ministries to request specific details about the parts of the story have been found to be untrue, in order to help us evaluate how best to respond to you, our valued customers.
We have also read specific statements from Tony Anthony in this regard which seem to offer a different view on the subject.
Mr. Anthony claims that the essence of the story remains true, and the only parts which are untrue were parts he was not aware of at the time, or the aforementioned deliberate decisions to change names, places, or slightly adjust the timeline.
Mr Anthony claims that he is working on a revised version of the book which will incorporate these new discoveries and clarify any other points of contention by way of a disclaimer, and adjusted narrative flow. Mr Anthony claims in no uncertain terms that there is zero evidence that has been presented which proves him to be a liar. His statement is currently available on his website.
Nonetheless, this particular narrative does not correspond with the nature of the the statement made by the Evangelical Allience and Avanti Ministries, which clearly indicates much deeper levels of deception.
Authentic Media and The Evangelical Allience have both graciously responded to requests for clarification, but unfortunately, as Avanti Ministries commissioned the report, neither have the authority to divulge such information at this time. The Evangelical Alliance have also published a helpful Q&A clarifying their position and involvement, and publicly stating their belief that the report, or an executive summary of it should be published by Avanti Ministries. This Q&A is available here.
Avanti Ministries have declined all requests for clarification at this time.
Mr. George Osborn, speaking on behalf of the board, did offer the following statement. He said that, after discussions with their solicitors:
Their very clear advice is that the Evangelical Alliance Report is a confidential one and should remain strictly confidential… [the report] was prepared for a specific purpose and the problem with sharing it with others is that there is a danger that others will seek to draw conclusions from it for other reasons for which it was not prepared. We do not wish to be unhelpful but you will understand, and I hope respect, our wish to follow the professional advice which we have received.
After careful consideration of this position, we agree that the report may not, in it’s current form, be suitable for public dissemination. We also agree with the Evangelical Alliance, that in spite of this, an executive summary should be published.
In order to try and facilitate an open dialogue, without fear of the consequences for Mr. Anthony’s friends and family, we therefore produced a series of Yes/No questions for Avanti to answer. These questions were based on the claims made by the Rational Response Squad, Bullshido.net and concerned christian ministers, reporters and investigators.
These closed questions were in the form of “Did the independent investigation uncover any evidence that…” followed by specific claims, such as “Tony Anthony was raised in mainland China by anyone (whether he believed that person to be his grandfather or not)?”. The questions left space for additional supporting information that the ministry felt appropriate to share, but such evidence was neither demanded or required, and the questions could simply be answered “Yes” or “No” without sharing any additional information.
In spite of this, and the clear advice of the Evangelical Alliance that an executive summary of the claims should be published, Avanti Ministries still declined to answer these questions.
After a careful study of the claims, discussions with several of the sources of the research and a careful reading of the statements by the Evangelical Alliance and Avanti Ministries, it is therefore our opinion that the claims against Mr. Anthony widely reported online are accurate and reliable.
It is our belief that, given the response by those directly involved, the investigation was not able to significantly overturn any of the claims against Mr. Anthony, and that the essence of the claims against Mr. Anthony are, unfortunately, true.
To provide a summary of the claims against Mr. Anthony, for those who are interested, we have decided to answer the questions presented to Avanti Ministries ourselves, based on the information currently available online. This is available here.
Given that the evidence provided seems to prove beyond a doubt that the core of Mr. Anthony’s testimony is false, we have taken the decision, alongside Authentic Media, to recall all Tony Anthony books and resources sold by The Hub. We will refund or exchange any Tony Anthony products sold by The Hub returned alongside a valid proof of purchase. Unfortunately, we cannot refund any products sold by Wesley Owen Walsall or without a proof of purchase. In this case, please contact Authentic Media directly.
We would also add that we take no pleasure in writing this. We have previously recommended Mr. Anthony to you, our customers. Like many of you, we believed his story, and were encouraged by it. We do not enjoy having to expose ministers of the gospel as fraudulent.
At the same time, we firmly believe that honestly exposing these falsehoods is the only correct biblical response. The Bible is clear that we should publicly rebuke those who persist in sin, for the good of the body of christ.
As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. (1 Tim 5:20, ESV)
We offer up prayers and support to Mr. Anthony and his family at this time, and pray that God would bring Mr. Anthony to full repentance and restoration. We also take this time to offer our prayers and support to anyone who has been directly affected by this revelation. We are here to support anyone who has been saved as a result of Mr. Anthony’s ministry, or have used Mr. Anthony’s testamony as an evangelism resource and tool and now have questions about this.
If you have been affected by this in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We are also aware that, like us, many of you would still like to know what information was uncovered by the independent investigation, to allow you to properly evaluate Mr. Anthony’s more recent statements. We therefore encourage you to contact Avanti Ministries directly requesting that clarification about the findings be published as soon as possible, to allow us all to decide upon the best way to proceed.
Avanti Ministries can be contacted for further comment by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr George Osborn, a director of the ministry can be contacted on email@example.com
We apologise that we are unable to provide direct clarification from Avanti Ministries at this time, and will publish updates as soon as we are able to.