The Trinity Foundation
The Trinity Foundation
Controversial, non-traditional evangelical watchdog group in Texas, USA. Known for its investigations and exposes of televangelists. Lately itself under scrutiny for alleged cult-like behavior.
Trinity sleuths, for example, helped research a PrimeTime Live story that concluded that televangelist W. V. Grant's ''miraculous'' ability to read minds owed a lot to interviews Grant and his staff conducted with selected audience members before the services. (Grant was recently released from prison after serving a sentence for tax evasion; his wife, Brenda, says the allegations are untrue and that Grant's imprisonment is ''something that could happen to anyone who made a mistake on their tax information.'') Desperate requests. In the same PrimeTime Live investigation, a Trinity team said it had found, stuffed in a Dumpster behind televangelist Robert Tilton's bank, thousands of unanswered letters written to Tilton by the faithful (and accompanied by donations no longer in the envelopes). Anthony said the desperate requests for healing and prayers literally made him weep. He still keeps in his pocket a copy of the first letter he saw: a frightened mother asking for prayers for a suicidal son. ''It helps remind me what I'm doing this for,'' he says. Tilton and his lawyers say the letters were planted in the Dumpster. Televangelist and faith healer Benny Hinn was another Trinity target. For a recent CNN report, Trinity detectives found receipts in the trash for $2,200-a-night hotel suites used by Hinn's bodyguards and caught Hinn on tape claiming that he had videotape of a man being raised from the dead at his Ghana crusade. Hinn told U.S. News that the high-priced hotels were needed for security abroad but admitted that though he was told about the resurrection videotape, he never saw it.
Detectives for Christ, U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 12, 1997
The Dallas/Forth Worth publication D-Magazine, provides a good overview of the Trinity Foundation, its beliefs and practices:
Today, as then, Ole runs the public nonprofit Trinity Foundation, the only organization of its kind, variously functioning as a church, a charitable foundation, a homeless shelter, a job corps for reformed crack addicts, a consortium of muckraking journalists, a private investigative agency, a magazine publisher, a supervisor of criminal parolees and probationers, and the manager of low-income housing projects in places as far flung as Oklahoma City and Dayton, Ohio. There's another school of thought that would say Trinity is a blaspheming parody of Christianity, an ego trip for Ole Anthony, a cult, or a tax shelter for people like me, who have been known to throw a little money in its direction. Most of its members live within a three-square-block area of East Dallas in two-story houses that were built by local Mafiosi in the 1930s. Over the years I've asked him on more than one occasion how to describe what he does. ''From what we know,'' he says, ''we're functioning as a first-century A.D. church. This is what existed before denominations, when there was no separation between Christian and Jew, much less Christian and Christian.''
(...) For what was emerging from these studies was his growing conviction that the modern church had gotten it all wrong—that there was no basis for the separation of Christian and Jew. That the apostles, beginning with Paul, had always spoken first in the synagogue, and that many early churches were, in fact, synagogues. Increasingly, his readings turned away from Martin Luther and towards the ancient Hebrew authorities. Always at his side were Hebrew dictionaries, Greek dictionaries, and academic word-study books because he felt acutely his inability to read the original languages and was determined not to make a mistake. I watched as he filled up dozens of three-ring binders with his printed notes, painstakingly copied onto yellow legal pads. He became fascinated with the idea of the ''three-year cycle,'' a process in ancient times by which a congregation would read through the entire Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) in three years, discussing and understanding every verse. He came to believe, with the rabbis, that Torah was the only Scripture, and that everything else in the Bible, including all of the New Testament, was merely commentary. He had become, as he was jokingly called at Temple Emmanuel, ''our Christian rabbi.''
The God Thing, D-Magazine
- Articles -
The Cult of Ole [Contra] "Ole Anthony anointed himself the watchdog of America's televangelists. But who was watching Ole Anthony?" The Dallas Observer, Aug. 2, 2006
Detectives for Christ Dec. 12, 1997 article in U.S. News & World Report
The Emperor Has No Clothes! Greg Hartlant interviews The Door's editor. This article was followed by The Many Faces of Benny Hinn, in response to many reader reactions.
The God Thing D-Magazine, on Ole Anthony and The Trinity Foundation
Televangelist Investigations : Corruption in Televangelism and Paganism in the American Church A speech presented Sept. 23, 1994, at the Philadelphia Conference on Cults, the Occult and the Word Faith Movement, by Ole Anthony, President, Trinity Foundation, Inc.
- Books -
I Can’t Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dallas Cult by Wendy J. Duncan who describes the cult-like experiences she and her husband had while they were members of the Trinity Foundation. [Details]
- Multimedia -
Ole Anthony, The Trinity Foundation and the Cult Controversy [CD Audio | MP3 download] Presentation by David Clark. Based on the book, I Can't Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dalllas Cult by Wendy Duncan, this workshop examines Ole Anthony and his Trinity Foundation. Involvement in this group has produced testimony of how people can be made vulnerable to the psychological manipulations and spiritual abuse of a "skilled spiritual leader". Emphasis will also focuses on how to regain psychological and spiritual health after leaving this group and how those caught in similar circumstances can do the same.
- Sites -
The Door Published by the Trinity Foundation, this is indeed "pretty much the only satirical Christian magazine in existence."
The Trinity Foundation, Inc. Official site. Includes a statement of faith, background information, details about the Trinity Foundation's projects, and more.