Billy Graham Center

Russell Philip Shedd - Collection 201

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent. Some or all of this collection can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. ]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Russell Shedd

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)


Transcript 1

Transcript 2

Transcript 3

Brief Description.
Three taped interviews concerning Shedd's upbringing by missionary parents in Bolivia; education at Wheaton College, Faith Seminary (PA), and the University of Edinburgh; evangelism opportunities in Scotland, 1953-55; and work with the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society in Portugal, 1959-62, and Brazil, 1962-82. Interviews were conducted on 2/10/82, 2/17/82, and 2/24/82.

Collection 201 [May 8, 2016]
Shedd, Russell Philip; 1929-2016
Interviews; 1982
3 Reels of Audio Tape


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.



Russell Philip Shedd was born November 10, 1929, in Aiquile, Bolivia, the son of Leslie Martin (1895-1979) and Della Johnston (1894-1959) Shedd, workers for the Bolivian Indian Mission. His father was a native of Massachusetts and his mother was from North Carolina. He was the third of four children, three of whom went into mission work: his brother Hudson became an executive with Gospel Mission of South America and his sister Helen served in Guatemala with CAM International. Another sister, Phyllis, settled with her husband in Massachusetts.

Russell Shedd was almost five before he saw the United States during his parents' furlough in 1934-35. Upon returning to Bolivia, the Shedds settled in Arani. Russell was enrolled in the B.I.M. "m.k." school and therefore lived away from his parents a good portion of the year. When the family returned to Bolivia after a second furlough, Russell remained in the United States for school, and graduated from Wheaton Academy in 1946. That same year he entered Wheaton College and earned a B.A. in 1949 and an M.A. in 1951. He received a B.D. degree from Faith Theological Seminary (Elkins Park, PA) in 1953 and a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in 1955. He was ordained in 1953 at the Hydewood Park Baptist Church, North Plainfield, New Jersey. During 1955-56, Shedd taught at Southeastern Bible College in Alabama, where he met Patricia Dunn, a native of Birmingham, Alabama. They were married June 22, 1957, following her graduation from Southeastern.

Shedd served the Hydewood Park Baptist Church as interim pastor, 1956-57, and was accepted in 1958 by the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society (CBFMS); he was appointed to the faculty of Leiria Seminary in Portugal. Delays in receipt of visas to enter Portugal forced their remaining in the United States until 1959, during which time Shedd helped found a church in a fast-growing suburb on Long Island. The Shedds also lived in Mississippi for a time during this period.

In 1959 the Shedds and their infant son sailed for Portugal where Russell joined the Leiria Seminary faculty. At the same time he became involved in a publishing ministry. In 1962, the publishing house was transferred to Brazil. "Edicoes Vida Nova" ("New Life Editions") of which Shedd was president, was operated by a primarily Brazilian staff, with input from CBFMS and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. It concentrated on producing books designed to train, teach, and nurture Christians in order to infuse biblical scholarship into the Brazilian church. In 1977 it published an important annotated topical reference Bible for use by pastors and lay-workers.

Russell and Patricia Shedd were the parents of five children: Timothy (1958), Nathaniel (1960), Peter (1962), Helen (1967), and Joy (1969). In 1981-82, the Shedds were on furlough in Wheaton, Illinois, while Russell taught a course at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois. They made their permanent home in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where Russell headed the Bible Department of Facultad Teologica Batista and pastored the Metropolitan Chapel which he founded in 1977. He died in November 2016 in Sao Paulo Brazil of complications from cancer.

Scope and Content

Russell Shedd was interviewed at the Billy Graham Center on February 10, 17, and 24, 1982, by Galen R. Wilson. The first tape concentrated primarily on Shedd's childhood in Bolivia and education; the second centered on Portugal and the third on the Shedds' work in Brazil. The column to the left of topics records time elapsed since the beginning of the tape.

Tape T1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Introduction
00:20 Birth, early life as an m.k. in Bolivia. Parents' original intent to go to India as missionaries; subsequent choice for Bolivia; Parents' work in Bolivia, especially linguistic work
03:30 Quechua language--grammar work done by father
05:20 Quechua Bible Institute; parents' various places of residence in evangelistic work; slow progress of work and then sudden explosion of Christianity after World War II
08:30 Mother's role in mission work--local scene (close to home) while father traveled. House-to-house visitation with mestizos
11:00 Mother's death (1959) and father's remarriage
11:40 Brother Hudson, missionary in Chile for many years, later Uruguay, still later in Florida as a director, Gospel Mission of South America
12:40 Sister Helen, missionary in Guatemala, CAM language work
13:45 Sister Phyllis, wife of Ray Martin, living in Lexington, MA
14:10 First view of United States, 1934; came to New York via ship and overland to North Carolina; fascination with trucks, ice cream
17:05 America in 1930's Depression still far ahead of Bolivia; poverty of shoestring missionary rations
18:50 Bolivia in Depression; also hit by war with Paraguay over border dispute
20:35 Diet in Bolivia: corn, potatoes, meat once a week
21:10 Missionary standard of living--cf. middle class nationals; description of home
22:45 Bolivian classes--upper, middle, and lower
23:15 Raising bees for an upper class mestizo
24:20 Roman Catholicism in Bolivia: processions, idolatry, magic; traces of Inca sun worship; Catholic conception of Christ; Good Friday procession with Christ in coffin
27:00 Between Good Friday and Easter you can do what you want because Christ is dead (and cannot see you). Risen Christ seen only as a judge
28:05 Bolivian priesthood--lack of education; missionaries joke about the priests who could not speak Latin
30:15 M.k. school; 1935 Hudson and Helen go off to school; he begins his education with parents; formal education begins with second grade
31:25 Effect of fragmentation on family life; crisis of being sent to school alone (and same feeling when parents went back to Bolivia without him at age 13); acceptance of this as just the way life is
33:15 At school, he is with brother and sister; discussion of dormitory life; privacy nowhere to be found; not particularly close to siblings there; sibling relationships
35:40 Working his way through Wheaton Academy
37:40 Growing up largely outside parents' home
38:45 Rumor he once heard about Billy Graham's ordination request from an Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in North Carolina
39:45 Relationship with parents as result of growing up outside home
41:00 Brazilian street urchins
41:45 Memories of parents' style of child-rearing
42:15 Father's family--pentecostals; memories of a Pentecostal camp meeting in New York; father's reaction against Pentecostalism; reasons for parents going to Moody Bible Institute
48:05 Mother's death in Bolivia; medical facilities available
51:35 Own upbringing on mission field repeated in rearing of own children, especially regarding m.k. schools
54:40 Adults to whom he was close as a child; houseparents in school; a Bolivia classmate turned off at m.k. school; general reflections on the school
58:15 Speedy run through college; work during college days as a crossing watchman for Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railroad
60:40 Experiences as child of missionaries to do evangelism on the field; personal evangelism; street meetings
62:45 Bolivian Catholicism--sears guilt, making people complacent
64:45 Desire to go to mission field; no great urge to go to Bolivia
66:30 Family concerns are secondary to the needs of the mission when working for God
68:00 Wheaton College experiences
69:50 Graduate work at Faith Seminary; reasons for choosing Faith
71:00 Carl McIntire at the Seminary
75:00 Graduate work at University of Edinburgh
76:05 Billy Graham's 1954 crusade at Harringay Arena in London; impressions of crusade, especially the "invitation." Memories of the sermon on "The Rich Young Ruler"
78:50 Experiences as a counselor at Edinburgh during Billy Graham's 1955 Scotland Crusade; assessment of Graham's messages' effect on the Scottish mind
81:00 Experiences as temporary pastor in Church of Scotland congregations; the state of the church; the Wee Free Church; opportunities for evangelism among Scots
88:30 Dissertation topic: God's dealing with individuals and with communities ("Solidarity")
91:50 End of tape

Tape T2 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Introduction
00:17 Choosing a mission field--CBFMS, Portugal; story of how he came to teach at Southeastern Bible College
03:00 Pastoring Hydewood Park Baptist Church
04:10 Courtship and marriage; honeymoon taken in Guatemala (to give wife Pat a feel for the missionary life)
06:20 Acceptance by CBFMS; deputation work; support money
07:30 Founding a church on Long Island while awaiting arrival of visas; visa problems
09:15 Logistics of getting a Conservative Baptist church going; evangelization via the children; successes via Vacation Bible School
13:00 Successes/failures in door-to-door visitation
14:15 Why he went with CBFMS
16:50 To Portugal on tourist visas; preparations in America; gathering supplies; Ken Cummings (YFC worker) leaving as they come, due to police harrassment
18:50 Learning Portuguese via self-teaching course; his command vs. wife's command learned by just picking it up.
21:20 Travel to Portugal via ship; travel between Lisbon and Lieria; Portuguese roads
22:45 Capsule sketch of CBFMS in Portugal, especially Lieria Seminary; involvement in publishing work
25:40 Careers of graduates of seminary
26:30 Southern Baptist/Independent Baptist/Conservative Baptist/North American "Landmarkist" Baptist rivalry in Portugal and unfortunate results on mission work; financial "pull" at fault
32:15 Portuguese Protestantism; mindset and cultural outlook on life; homogeneity of people
34:40 Class distinctions; differences in outlooks: lower-class/provincial "blind faith" vs. upper-class outward-looking quality
35:45 Fatima: pilgrimages and penance by lower class
37:35 Lower class has more devotion to church; hold of Catholic church on people; a Portuguese man asks "What is a Bible?"; Catholic priest sabotages missionary efforts by ripping up gospels that were distributed (contrasted to present openness of Brazilian clergy for reception of the gospels)
40:15 Feasts for patron saints
41:10 Resistance of politically conservative areas to spread of Protestantism
42:15 Clientele of students at seminary: upper lower class
44:00 Evangelism opportunities: film medium, especially Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's MR. TEXAS--a good response from Portuguese
46:00 Graham endorses dubbing of BGEA films into Portuguese
47:10 Novelty of film medium to Portuguese; translation of Joseph Alleine's ALARM TO THE UNCONVERTED into Portuguese and its success and effectiveness
50:20 Relative absence of opposition from laity until priest whipsaws emotion
51:20 Fatima: importance of RECENT appearance of Mary overshadows the incarnation; story about a rival shrine
55:00 Portuguese Baptist church--failure of churches to support selves has been debilitating (contrasted with Brazil)
56:20 The Family: machismo not much in evidence; suspicion of outsiders difficult to overcome
59:00 Ken Cummings, YFC worker: government opposition funneled through Catholic Church; early enthusiasm for evangelism meets stern opposition because population is interested; stories of HOW the government needled Cummings
62:45 Magic in religion in Portugal: "bargaining" with God and the Virgin
65:30 Old-time debates between priests and Protestant evangelists in Brazil
66:50 Reasons for leaving Portugal--confusion of work there; belief that in Brazil, publication sales would go much faster
70:05 Relations with other missions in Portugal
71:00 TEAM work in Lisbon
73:40 More about the publishing work in Portugal
74:30 Settling in Brazil--first impressions of Sao Paulo as a bustling, fast-moving society
76:00 Duties in Brazil's Edicoes Vida Nova; establishing a secure foundation for the work; beginnings of the venture; IVCF provides a commission to select books for publication; CBFMS supports publication costs; Bible commentary goes into print; importation of stock from Portugal where sales lag; books for the "thinking" Christian
82:30 Main thrust of work: nurturing new Christians (since Brazilian church is good on evangelism in and of itself); a weakness in the Brazilian church--lack of depth in Bible knowledge on part of pastors and lay-workers; spontaneous evangelism not matched by deeper learning
84:50 Idea begins for annotated topical Bible with notes, etc, in 1963 (published 1977)--a lay preacher's Bible; detailed discussion; based on Thompson chain-reference system, but elaborated and revised
95:00 End of tape

Tape T3 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Introduction
00:30 Mardi Gras in Brazil
03:20 Evangelical community uses Mardi Gras as a retreat time; way of separating Christians from revelry which might tempt them
04:50 Status of Protestantism in Brazil; Pentecostal relations with nonpentecostal Evangelicals
06:45 Recent evangelical upsurge in Lutheran Church in Brazil
10:55 Capsule history of Conservative Baptist work in Brazil, from late 1940s and beginnings with Jonas Masedo
14:00 Peasant farming class in northeast Brazil; description of povertystricken area
15:00 First impressions of Brazil, 1962 (Sao Paulo); reasons for moving publishing work to Brazil; type of books produced; general success of work in readership and sales
19:15 Reasons for CBFMS putting its energies into education/teaching/ training rather than evangelism--because Brazilians are such good evangelists already; necessity of theological education; church planting
24:45 Interest in exegesis study course for pastors not overwhelming
26:40 Publishing house's distribution; type of books put out; selection of books for publication; translation and adaptation of books to Brazilian contest
31:50 "Liberation theology" as taught by Roman Catholic church; lack of depth in Catholic thinking; low number of priests; lay involvement in church
36:00 Catholic views of evangelical community; evangelical maids prove more trustworthy than others; evangelical Christianity a lowerclass movement at first, but rising
39:50 Evangelical Christians in high places; prediction for future of Brazil; church growth per se is slowing down--reasons given; case study of church in Sao Paulo
45:30 Annotated Bible's preparation; shipment of paper confiscated by customs; printing costs and sales
52:25 Shedd's own writings in Portuguese; expositions on Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians; book on eschatology; aim--to encourage pastors and students toward more substantial preaching
54:10 Church discipline in Brazil (disagreements result in excommunication) and reasons for this; list of excommunicable offenses; strongly dictatorial approach to church government--reflection of Portuguese heritage
58:30 Instances of discipline problems; occurrence of sexual sins; plans for a book he is to write on the seriousness of discipline
63:40 Book on eschatology is planned
66:30 Opportunities of seminary teaching in Sao Paulo
68:15 Extreme legalism of gospel in some Brazilian churches; liberalism exhibited in others
73:00 Machismo in Brazil is not predominant
73:30 Family: migration off land to cities has been disastrous; a nostalgic concept of "family"; abandoned children; church's response to poverty; ministering to physical needs affects spiritual ministry; church family replaces blood family in cities
79:45 Division of classes and description of each; churches begun within class lines
83:40 Shedd's son desires to go into mission work; reflection of good feelings of being reared on mission field
86:20 Shedd's own future plans
88:00 Keeping one's family together: mission context versus United States
88:40 Inter-Varsity in Brazil
91:37 End of side 1

Tape T3 - side 2
91:40 Billy Graham comes to Brazil, 1962; Shedd's role in this; his assessments of how Graham manages to succeed in so many different cultures; impact in Brazil not as great as in Scotland because the style was a new thing to Scotland but familiar to Brazilians
97:35 Baptist missions: Portugal cf. Brazil; importance of letting churches be indigenous in leadership
101:30 Possibility of liberal theology in Baptist church in Brazil
103:00 Missionary outreach of Brazil to Portugal, Canada, and other areas of South America; relations between Brazilian church and in-coming missionaries good, in large part because the Brazilians are in charge of administration
106:40 General overview: expectations in 1962 compared to the actuality in 1982; progress if Edicoes Vida Nova--even with Catholic audience
111:15 End of tape


The materials in this collection were received from Dr. Shedd in February, 1982.

Accession 82-17, 82-22, 82-28
June 7, 1982
Galen R. Wilson

Retyped, March 6, 1989
J. Nasgowitz
D. Reifsnyder

Accession 82-17, 82-22, 82-28
Type of Material: Audio Tapes
The following items have been placed in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, Missionary Sources Collection oral history interview of Dr. Russell P. Shedd by Galen R. Wilson, February 10, 1982. Covers his childhood as a missionary kid in Bolivia, education at Wheaton College, Faith Seminary, and the University of Edinburgh, Billy Graham meetings at Harringay and Edinburgh in 1954/55, etc. Approximately 90 minutes, one side.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, Missionary Sources Collection oral history interview of Dr. Russell P. Shedd by Galen R. Wilson, February 17, 1982. Covers the history of missionary work in Lieria, Portugal, and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Approximately 90 minutes, one side.

T3 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, Missionary Sources Collection oral history interview of Dr. Russell P. Shedd by Galen R. Wilson, February 24, 1982. Covers missionary work in Brazil. Approximately 110 minutes, two sides.

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