Gene Scott

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For other people named Gene Scott, see Gene Scott (disambiguation).
Gene Scott
Born William Eugene Scott
(1929-08-14)August 14, 1929
Buhl, Idaho, United States
Died February 21, 2005(2005-02-21) (aged 75)
Glendale, California, United States
Cause of death Stroke
Nationality American
Education Stanford University (Ph.D., 1957)
Spouse(s) Betty Ann Frazier, 1951(?)–1974
Melissa Scott (born Melissa Paulina Peroff), 2000–2005 (his death)
Church Pentecostal then Protestant (Paulinist)

William Eugene "Gene" Scott (August 14, 1929 – February 21, 2005) was a U.S. pastor and teacher who served for almost fifty years as an ordained minister and religious broadcaster in Los Angeles, California.

Early life and career[edit]

Gene Scott was born in Buhl, Idaho. He earned his Ph.D. in Philosophies of Education at Stanford University in 1957 and subsequently served as an ordained minister for almost fifty years. During his career, Scott served as a traveling teacher for the Pentecostal Assemblies of God, the president of the Full Gospel Fellowship of Churches and Ministers International for nine years and, for a combined total of thirty-five years, as the pastor for the Protestant Wescott Christian Center and Faith Center. For the last fifteen years of his ministry, Scott held weekly Sunday Bible teaching services at the Los Angeles University Cathedral in Los Angeles, California.[1]

In 1975, Scott was elected pastor of Faith Center, a forty-five-year-old church of congregational polity in Glendale, California. Faith Broadcasting Network was the first Christian television station and the first to provide twenty-four-hour Christian programming. Scott added a nightly live television broadcast to the network, the Festival of Faith.

In 1983, the University Network began broadcasting the first twenty-four-hour religious television network via satellite to North America and much of Mexico and the Caribbean. Affiliate television and radio stations broadcast Scott's services and nightly teachings.


Early years[edit]

Although an agnostic while attending Stanford University, Scott converted to Christianity while earning his Ph.D. in 1957. He taught at Evangel College (now Evangel University), then assisted Oral Roberts in establishing Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Assemblies of God[edit]

Scott eventually joined the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination, and served overseas as a missionary for several years.

While working as President of Wescott Christian Center,[2] on July 12, 1967 the AoG General Superintendent (Thomas F. Zimmerman) appointed Scott as one of fourteen persons to serve on their Committee on Advance as Research Director.[3]

At their August 26–29, 1968 Council on Evangelism held in St. Louis, Missouri, Scott preached one of four major evening messages to a crowd of about seven thousand registered participants at the Kiel Auditorium.[4] Focusing on human frailties of Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles, he concluded that the message of the church (his assigned theme for the occasion) was, "the message of a Person--Jesus Christ and Him crucified. It needs to be told from the Word, and it needs to be experienced, and it needs to be seen."[5]

Wescott Christian Center[edit]

In 1970, Scott resigned his Assemblies of God credentials in good standing to focus on the Wescott Christian Center (aka Community Bible Church[6]) with his father, a pastor in Oroville, California. Later, Scott was elected the church's pastor by a unanimous vote of the board of Faith Center in Glendale, California. His father, known as "Pop Scott", and his mother, known as "Mom Scott", assisted him at his new church.

The Wescott Christian Center is the title-holder to various church properties and bank accounts, according to county records.[7] Upon Scott's death all assets and copyrights transferred to his wife Melissa Scott.

Full Gospel Fellowship[edit]

During 1970, Scott's father (W.T. Scott) was vice-president on the executive board of the Full Gospel Fellowship of Churches and Ministers International.[8] Gene was a featured speaker at its 8th annual convention in 1970, and served as its president from October 1975 to July 1984.[9]

Faith Center[edit]

In 1975, while serving his Oroville ministry, Scott was approached to serve as a financial consultant for the forty-five-year-old Faith Center church in Glendale, California, by its then pastor and founder, religious broadcaster Ray Schoch.

Faith Center owned four broadcast stations: KHOF-TV channel 30 in San Bernardino, California, KHOF-FM 99.5 in Los Angeles, California, KVOF-TV channel 38 in San Francisco, California, and WHCT channel 18 in Hartford, Connecticut. These stations comprised F.B.N., the Faith Broadcasting Network.


In 1975, Scott began nightly live broadcasts, and eventually satellite broadcasts extended his services and talk shows to many countries.[1][10][11]

Scott became known as much for his stage persona as he was for his preaching skills. He would fill chalk-boards with scriptural passages in the original Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic during his exegeses as to their meaning.

During his live fund-raising broadcasts, Scott typically stared into the camera and told his viewers to get on the telephone and give if they felt as though the spirit called for it, often wearing one of a variety of hats, such as an English pith helmet or a sombrero.

Scott showed disdain for other religious broadcasters like Jerry Falwell and Jimmy Swaggart, and bristled when people referred to him as a televangelist, preferring to be regarded as a teacher and pastor.[12]

Los Angeles University Cathedral[edit]

In 1989, Scott was approached by Bruce Corwin, then president of Miracle on Broadway and chairman of the Metropolitan Theatres Corporation, to restore the United Artists flagship theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

In 1990, Scott and his congregation moved their Sunday service to the building, now renamed the Los Angeles University Cathedral. According to the Los Angeles County Recorder's office and North American title report, Scott acquired ownership of the building through his entity the Wescott Christian Center in December 2002. Both the building[13] and the neon "Jesus Saves" signs are designated historic monuments.[citation needed]

Portions of the Dr. Gene Scott Bible Collection containing Bibles, other books, and manuscripts, were formerly held at the building.

University Network[edit]

In 1975, Scott began a series of broadcasts which resulted in the creation of the University Network. By 1983, this network was broadcasting his sermons twenty-four hours a day via satellite to the United States and Canada, as well as to much of Mexico and the Caribbean. By 1990, his network was available to 180 countries, and by 1992 his sermons were being broadcast in several languages on A.M., F.M., and short-wave radio.

Drawing from nearly thirty years of recorded programming,[14] Scott's radio, satellite and television ministry continues to be broadcast, although on different stations and at different times.

Notable members of congregation[edit]

Among Scott's volunteer cadre of telephone-answering "Voices of Faith" was Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Wes Parker. During a 1982 broadcast (index number S-1086-3), Parker spoke with Scott publicly for over twenty minutes, stating that before coming across Scott's television program, he had never understood or felt drawn toward Christianity. He said that it was Scott's intelligent and factual approach to teaching that earned his respect and allowed him to build faith. He also said that his earlier exposures to Christianity had had no effect, because they were mostly based on simplistic platitudes such as "God is love" which he found unconvincing.

Actor Don DeFore was also a member of his congregation.

Continuing broadcast presentation[edit]

During the years following Scott's death, his surviving wife and successor, Pastor Melissa Scott, has purchased many hours of time over broadcast, cable, and satellite television for the presentation of one-hour programs of his messages from his later years, as well as many recent lectures by herself from Faith Center. Still available are the twenty-four-hour satellite, internet, and short-wave radio broadcasts, carrying the raw network feed, featuring three decades of Scott's recorded teachings.

Starting in 2005, Melissa Scott led the Los Angeles church until it was sold, and she now leads the Glendale church. She is seen weekly on her own national television broadcast. She refers to Scott as her mentor.[dead link][15]


Scott wrote and published around twenty books. As of 2014, ten of his books have been released posthumously. Currently comprising seven volumes, The Dr. Gene Scott Pulpit is being published with Melissa Scott's approval as a series of book volumes comprising every Sunday message preached by Gene Scott since his arrival at the Faith Center in 1975. The series is published and distributed by Dolores Press.


Scott was an artist and painted well over a thousand watercolors, acrylics and oils. He was a philatelist and an equestrian.

Philanthropic activities and memberships[edit]

Scott's charitable activities included raising money for the Los Angeles Public Library and the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena.[16] His interests and memberships included:

  • Los Angeles Central Library Save the Books telethon
  • Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center and one of its founding directors
  • Member, Board of "Rebuild L.A."
  • Member, Philatelic Foundation of New York

Marriages and relationships[edit]

  • Betty Ann Frazer, first wife, married for twenty-three years, divorced in June 1972.
  • Christine Shaw, long-time girlfriend, from early 1980s until 1995.
  • Melissa Scott (born Melissa Paulina Peroff), second wife from August 2000 until his death, successor of his ministry and present pastor of Faith Center and C.E.O. and President of the University Network.[17]


Scott was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000, but declined surgery and chemotherapy. After four years he was diagnosed with cancer elsewhere in his body. Scott described his battle with the sickness to his congregation during several months of continued live broadcasts.

In mid-2004 he named his wife, Melissa Scott, as pastor of the church and signed papers effecting the transition. In February 2005, Scott suffered a stroke and lapsed into a coma in Glendale Adventist Medical Center.

Scott was pronounced dead at 4:30 P.M. P.S.T. on February 21, 2005.[18]

Scott in popular culture[edit]

Scott was profiled in the 1980 documentary God's Angry Man by Werner Herzog.[19]

Clips from one of his on-air fund drives were used in the 1981 Cabaret Voltaire recording "Sluggin' Fer Jesus."

In an episode of Saturday Night Live which aired on January 23, 1988, Scott was portrayed by Robin Williams in a skit parodying the CableACE Awards.[20]


  1. ^ a b Biography of the late Dr. Gene Scott Ph.D.
  2. ^ Champion et al. (1968), The Message of the Church, p. 217.
  3. ^ Champion et al. (1968), The Message of the Church, pp. 11-2.
  4. ^ Champion et al. (1968), The Message of the Church, p. 7.
  5. ^ Champion et al. (1968), The Message of the Church, pp. 25-8.
  6. ^ Fellowship ("The official publication of the Full Gospel Fellowship of Churches and Ministers, International"), vol. 2, no. 4, Summer 1970, p. 9
  7. ^ Los Angeles County Recorder, North American Title Company, Los Angeles Superior Court of California, Articles of Incorporation on file at the Secretary of State of California.
  8. ^ Fellowship ("The official publication of the Full Gospel Fellowship of Churches and Ministers, International"), vol. 2, no. 4, Summer 1970, p. 7
  9. ^ Past Presidents page of The Fellowship Today website
  10. ^ "Best/Worst Deceased Televangelists". 
  11. ^ Austin Chronicle: Print an Article
  12. ^ Bunting, Glenn F. (July 10, 1994). "The Shock Jock of Televangelism". Los Angeles Times. 
  13. ^ City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) Report Entry #523
  14. ^
  15. ^ Dr. Gene Scott's Bio on Pastor Melissa[dead link]
  16. ^ Gene Scott -- television preacher and philanthropist, Larry B. Stammer, San Francisco Chronicle, February 24, 2005, Retrieved 2007-07-09
  17. ^
  18. ^ Larry B. Stammer, "Gene Scott, 75; Television Preacher Famous for His Unconventional Ministry", Los Angeles Times, February 23, 2005,
  19. ^ Canby, Vincent (July 20, 1983). "FILM: WERNER HERZOG DOCUMENTARIES". The New York Times. 
  20. ^ SNL Archives Details


  • Champion, Richard, Edward S. Caldwell, Gary Leggett (eds.) (1968). Our Mission in Today's World: Council on Evangelism Official Papers and Reports. Springfield, Missouri: Gospel Publishing House. 
  • Scott, Gene (1968). "As Preached at the Council on Evangelism". The Pentecostal Evangel 2845 (November 17): 372. 

External links[edit]