A Pastor Who Should Own Up to Her Past



While channel surfing recently during the wee hours of the morning, I happened upon the weekly telecast of Melissa Scott, pastor of a Glendale, California church.

My instinct was to keep on surfing (I still struggle with the idea of female “pastors,” for in spiritual matters, the Word of God declares, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man”).

Nevertheless, I wanted to hear what Sister Melissa (my honorific for her) had to say. So I watched her telecast and found her rather conversant on the Bible. Scholarly even.

I DVRed a couple more of her televised messages – I’m not going to use the term “sermons,” for the previously stated reason – and came away with the same, generally favorable, impression.

So I did little research on Sister Melissa.

I learned that she was born in Rome; eventually moved to the United States; joined Los Angeles University Cathedral (headed by Dr. Gene “Doc” Scott, the “shock jock of televangelism”); married Scott in 2000 (he was 70, she was 32); and took over his ministry when he died in 2005.

And, oh yes, she used to be a porn star known as Barbie Bridges.

At least that’s the allegation made by Marie Claire, in an expose the magazine published in 2009. It recounted that, after assuming the pulpit formerly held by her late husband, after delivering her very first message, Easter cards featuring lurid snapshots of Bridges were anonymously mailed to members of the University Cathedral congregation.

Sister Melissa denied she and Bridges, the porn star, were one in the same. She attributed the similarity of their likenesses to an expert Photoshop job.

In an interview with Marie Claire – one of the rare occasions she’s actually spoken with journalists – she told the magazine, “I’ve seen a good portion of the stuff on the Internet, and honestly, I almost have to laugh at it.” She also stated, unequivocally, “I was never an actress in a pornographic movie.”

Marie Claire didn’t buy it. It maintained that Sister Melissa’s past in adult entertainment was confirmed by several acquaintances of hers.

What convinced me that the magazine printed the truth is the fact – which Sister Melissa does not dispute – that she was previously married to Paul Pastore, whom she divorced before marrying Doc Scott.

Pastore worked for an exotic dancing agency, according to the magazine, before launching a porn distribution outfit called Barbie Bridges Enterprises. Marie Claire reached him at his West Hollywood office where he was still working in adult entertainment. If Sister Melissa doesn’t want to acknowledge her past, he told the magazine, “that’s fine with me.”

Well, Sister Melissa has come full circle since she followed her late husband, Doc Scott, into the pulpit at University Cathedral; since the damning Easter cards exposing her former life were anonymously mailed to her congregation.

Instead of running away from her past as an adult entertainer, Sister Melissa should embrace it this Easter holiday. She should stand before her congregation this Sunday and tell them, truthfully, she once was lost, and now she’s found.

She should tell them the blood shed on Calvary was a ransom for poor sinners like her, like them, like all of us. And she should tell them that, because Christ rose on Easter Sunday, having conquered the grave, our sin debt has been paid to the Father.

Sister Melissa has a powerful story of redemption to share. Like her, all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But the Good News is that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus – be it on a holiday card, on the Internet, in a magazine or anywhere else.

For whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

This entry was published on March 29, 2013 at 12:26 PM. It’s filed under Holidays and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “A Pastor Who Should Own Up to Her Past

  1. erttr on said:

    Your insignificant cry to God “i demand to know the details” “i demand she confess to the world” is laughable by Him, all who read your ridiculous efforts in this article, and the whole host of heaven. If this is all you have to add to her life she owes you nothing. God has covered her in-spite of a lack of notification and a full accounting to you. You prove you have judged what she “should be doing” what she “should have done” and sentenced it “insufficient”. So you demand more of what? For you to declare how people are saved by details of a life you don’t even know first hand, you only can guess at from an internet search? You show your ignorance of what a scholar is by defining women in the church from one verse. Even more so your not so final commentary on another person’s life, preacher or not, should you have the meat you are drooling for? How different are you from the Romans in the Colosseum, not much. I don’t care about the details, how deep the pit is by your standard or mine, nor how great the victory. It is enough who she is in Christ now and if that’s not enough for you, too bad. You have only those like you for your fan club and it’s the same small ilk that are glued to Dr. Phil and Maury Pauvich. Have fun with your gavel and we the majority in Christ will continue in Him and in love, covering, not demanding exposure of others who have missed God’s mark and have found the grace and peace you obviously have never had or even able to give.

    • Thank you for your comment erttr. I do not demand details of Sister Melissa Scott’s past life. I think Marie Claire magazine provided more details than I care to know.

      Sister Melissa declares herself anointed to preach the Gospel. Thus, I hardly think it laughable to expect her to acknowledge her past, following the example of the Apostle Paul, who freely and publicly acknowledged that he persecuted Christians before he became a new creation in Christ.

      I have absolutely no doubt that God has, as you suggest, “covered” Sister Melissa if she has both confessed and repented her past sins. But she has consistently denied the sins of which she is suspected, despite evidence to the contrary (including the testimony of her former husband).

      You argue that it “is enough” who Sister Melissa is in Christ now. Well, it is “enough,” it is sufficient, if she does not continue to deny her past.

      Indeed, she has a powerful story on redemption to share. And no one would be more supportive of her ministry than yours truly.

  2. zoebrain on said:

    I hope she goes back to a more honest profession than TV Evangelism.

    There’s none so blind….

    “The profession of shaman has many advantages. It offers high status with a safe livelihood free of work in the dreary, sweaty sense. In most societies it offers legal privileges and immunities not granted to other men. But it is hard to see how a man who has been given a mandate from on High to spread tidings of joy to all mankind can be seriously interested in taking up a collection to pay his salary; it causes one to suspect that the shaman is on the moral level of any other con man. But it is a lovely work if you can stomach it” — Robert Heinlein

    On the other hand, I don’t think she’s doing any harm.. You could even say that relieving the gullible of cash.they could use to do harm is a civic duty.

  3. kchase on said:

    Right on, brother!

    I agree 100%.

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