This is a statement that I never imagined I would have to make. When Taming The Tiger was first published 9 years ago, it was my feeble attempt to share God’s amazing work in my life with any who were interested – and I really didn’t know if anybody would be. To my amazement, God has used this book to impact the lives of many. As is so often the case when people put themselves ‘on the line’ for the Lord and the Gospel, criticism rears its head. Over the past two years this has been the situation I have faced.
My entire life has been under scrutiny and conclusions have been made by some as to a lack of truthfulness in the telling of my story. In my defence, I continue to stand wholeheartedly by the truth of my life story. It needs to be stated at the outset that Taming The Tiger was intended to be the ‘story’ of my early life. It never set out to be a strict historical account of each and every event with supporting minutiae. As such, it remains a ‘true story’, descriptively told and consistent with many other similar publications in its genre. At the time I began relating the events of my life as I remembered them to my co-writer I could never have anticipated the scrutiny with which certain historical accuracies would be examined.
Since writing, I have discovered some information about my family history of which I was unaware when first working on Taming The Tiger. I now fully accept that there are a number of details that appear in the book that are no longer historically accurate. For example, as a very young boy I was raised to believe that the man in whose house I lived and who trained me in Kung Fu was my grandfather. It has since come to light that this individual was not my biological grandfather. Whilst I now recognise this is the factual truth, I cannot accept that the reporting of my memory as it appears in Taming The Tiger is ‘incorrect’. It is widely recognised that it is common for people to recall past events differently. Moreover, to be accused of being a ‘fake’ because of such inaccuracy is unfair and unfounded.
I regret that a clear disclaimer was not included in the original editions of Taming The Tiger (published by Authentic Media), but, as my writer will testify, the details as they are told in the book are presented with considered alteration of identities, places and some circumstances in order to appropriately protect confidentiality. Revised editions will include a clear disclaimer as follows:
“This book tells the true story of Tony Anthony. Some scenes have been dramatized with authentic though not necessarily actual dialogue, and-to protect the author and his family, and the rights of those whose paths he has crossed-some of the names, places, and details of the events have been altered.”
In the light of recent scrutiny, it is my intention to publish an update to the book that will include news since Taming The Tiger was first published over 9 years ago and seek to address areas of doubt and criticism of the original. Corrections will be made to relevant historical facts that have only come to light in recent history regarding my family (Please remember, these are facts of which I was previously unaware).
Over a year ago, I prepared a manuscript for a new book that set out to rewrite my personal story as accurately as possible, incorporating all of the new information that has come to light. However, publication was prevented by the actions of specific people intent on discrediting my ministry.
I gave my life to Christ in Nicosia Central Prison in Cyprus through the ministry of God’s faithful servant, Michael Wright – and it has been an honour to put into practice the Great Commission – to proclaim the Gospel to all creation! My intention is to continue spreading that Good News.
Through this statement, I wish to let you know what has transpired, and give you the opportunity to hear the truth, particularly in case this misinformation has caused doubt to be raised in your minds. Honestly, this type of situation is not so new. Nehemiah had to deal with opposition and misinformation, and the Apostle Paul said, “…as servants of God … through glory and dishonour, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:4, 8-10).
Paul also commented, “We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed-God is our witness” (1 Thessalonians 2:2-5).
Another sad consequence of this situation concerns Avanti Ministries itself. Avanti Ministries is the organisation I helped establish nearly ten years ago and it has since nurtured many ministries and evangelists under its care. Despite being a large global ministry, the organisation has always remained a very organic operation, staffed and run by volunteers whose sole mission is sacrificial service to the Gospel. Not wanting any of the current adversity to impact on the individuals concerned or the good work that has been achieved – and after prayerful consideration – the Avanti Board has decided it is in the best interests of all concerned that Avanti’s management of those ministries should cease. Both the Avanti Ministries’ Board of Directors and I wish to thank all its supporters for their prayer and support over the years and we are reminded and remain encouraged by the words of our Lord Jesus Christ recorded in John 12:24 where He says, “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.”
Despite a global reach, the organisation lived hand-to-mouth under immense financial pressure and each ministry trip had to be carefully and prayerfully considered. Many copies of Taming The Tiger have been printed but, as Authentic Media will verify, the large majority have been purchased, royalty free, by the ministry itself to be used as give-aways on the mission field.
Avanti Ministries Limited was a registered charity and copies of the annual accounts are still available to view on the UK Charity Commission web site at www.charitycommission.gov.uk
I would ask for your ongoing prayers for the protection of my family and the Lord’s work as we continue to serve God by addressing these issues to enable me to continue the ministry entrusted to me to spread and proclaim the Gospel to a lost world in need of being introduced to our wonderful Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
In it all, our God is faithful, and whatever He allows us to go through for His glory, let it be. One day, we will all stand before Him. He is worthy of it all, and He will establish His work. I would like to thank those that have stood with me in this journey and continue to do so despite the storms.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, and cause His face to shine upon you.
Keep on keeping on…
Evangelist and Author
Should you have any queries or require any further information please do not hesitate to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Official Statement from Avanti Ministries is here.
Mr. Ian Bruce has provided a comprehensive response to questions asked by members of the general public. I am grateful for his permission to include this link to his website – www.forthesakeofthegospel.co.uk