Ole Edward Anthony (October 3, 1938 – April 16, 2021) was an American minister, religious investigator and satirist. Anthony was the editor of The Wittenburg Door, a magazine of Christian satire. He was head of the Trinity Foundation, and in that capacity was involved in investigating the financial activities and alleged misappropriations of televangelists.[1]

Anthony was born on October 3, 1938, in St. Peter, Minnesota.[2] He was reared in the Lutheran faith.[3] He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1956 until December 1959, as a "special weapons maintenance technician" and had top-secret clearance, receiving the Good Conduct Medal and two "outstanding unit" awards.[4]

Anthony's investigative work into the fundraising tactics of big-money televangelists first came to national attention in 1991 following a Primetime Live hidden-camera investigation of televangelists. Anthony portrayed himself—a Dallas minister of a small church trying to learn how big-money ministries work—in the segment on fellow East Dallas minister Robert Tilton. Anthony and the Trinity Foundation were instrumental in providing evidence for the many state and Federal investigations of Tilton in the years that followed, and he was often interviewed by reporters in preparations for stories on other televangelists.[5] He was also the subject of a lengthy profile in the December 6, 2004, issue of The New Yorker.[6]

He was a close friend of writer and comedian Joe Bob Briggs, who is also a member of the Trinity Foundation.

Former members of the group have been critical of the foundation and Anthony.[7]

The Trinity Foundation's web site announced that Ole Anthony died on April 16, 2021, after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017.[8]


  1. ^ Baker, Vicky (May 29, 2019). "The preachers getting rich from poor Americans". BBC News.
  2. ^ Risen, Clay (April 27, 2021). "Ole Anthony, Scourge of Televangelists, Dies at 82". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  3. ^ "Ole Anthony, Prominent Critic of Televangelists, Passes Away at 82".
  4. ^ Whitley, Glenna (August 3, 2006). "The Cult of Ole". Dallas Observer. Archived from the original on March 14, 2018. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  5. ^ "'Scarborough Country' for Dec. 7". NBC News. December 8, 2004. Retrieved May 17, 2007.
  6. ^ Bilger, Burkhard (December 6, 2004). "God Doesn't Need Ole Anthony". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  7. ^ Whitley, Glenna (August 3, 2006). "The Cult of Ole". Dallas Observer. Archived from the original on March 14, 2018. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  8. ^ "Obituary: Ole Anthony, our president, pastor, friend, and longtime nemesis of televangelists, dead at 82 | Trinity Foundation". trinityfi.org. April 17, 2021. Retrieved April 17, 2021.

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