This is a complete and accurate transcript of the oral history interview of Russell Shedd (CN 201, T2) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations, such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. Readers should remember that this is a transcription of spoken English, which, of course, follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
() Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
 Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcription was made by Sara Henning and Paul Ericksen, and completed in April 1996.
Collection 201, T2. Interview of Russell Shedd by Galen Wilson on February 17, 1982.
WILSON: This is Wednesday, February 17, 1982. We are here at the Billy Graham Center Archives with Dr. Russell Shedd, a missionary to Portugal and presently Brazil. Last week when we left off we were just finishing your dissertation in Edinburgh. And so when you left Edinburgh you came back to the States...what? To...specifically to prepare for the mission field or...what were your plans at that time?
SHEDD: I had in mind going to the field, but we weren't sure which field. We had...we had heard of and visited the CBFMS field in Portugal (CBFMS means Conservative Baptist Foreign Missionary Society work), at that time going very well under the direction of Sam Faircloth and Arthur Brown, who had introduced me to the work and informed me about it. They were involved in a seminary teaching program there which I had always felt would be my calling, to teach in seminary. So, finishing my degree at Edinburgh made this now a very live possibility. I was still single, still hoping that maybe I might be able to teach in this country for a while, so I stopped at...at Sandy Cove Bible Conference to visit my sister.
WILSON: That's, what? in New Jersey?
SHEDD: That's in Maryland.
SHEDD: On the coast on Chesapeake Bay. It so happened that not only was my sister there, but also Dr. [Merrill] Tenney, who was a...of course, a good friend, and so I told him my interest in teaching and wondered if there might some opportunity here at Wheaton. He said he didn't think so, but that he would keep me in mind. And a few days later, a call came from Southeastern Bible College in Birmingham, Alabama, informing me of an opening there in the...the Bible college. So I was interviewed and...and hired. That was 1955, so I began teaching there in September of that year and taught for that year in the area of history, psychology, Bible and so forth.
WILSON: Now, what...? were you hired just for the one year or...?
SHEDD: Well, I...I was hired [laughs] on an open-ended [pauses] plan. But I had hoped to be able to soon head out for the field. I hadn't really thought of that as an [unclear]...I mean, permanent situation, and so I [pauses] felt it was the Lord's will for me to resign. Now immediately after that, almost immediately after that year, I was invited to pastor the Hydewood Park Baptist Church in New Jersey. So, I getting really two valuable assets as far as my work is concerned. One was in the teaching field and the other was in the pastoral field.
WILSON: Now, that was the church where you were ordained, correct?
SHEDD: That's right. Correct.
WILSON: How did you come to be ordained in that church?
SHEDD: Because I was a member there. I had joined the church. Mr. McCullough, who was pastoring was also the head of the mission my parents were under, the Andes Evangelical Mission. So, I had gained a fairly close association with him through that, the fact that he was connected both with the church and the mission. I'd been out to New Jersey and he'd been very...very kind to me, taking me under his wing. He'd also taken my sister into their home for awhile when she needed a place to stay so that there was a close connection between myself and the pastor. I'm sure that's what was behind it.
WILSON: So, now this year that you spent in Alabama, that's where you met your wife.
SHEDD: That's right. It's where I met Pat...Dunn, Patricia Dunn who was a student. She was a junior at the Bible college, consequently about five years younger than I and so we got to know each other, dated some and I asked her to marry me that next summer (that was in 19...the summer of 1956), which also did some pastoral work up in New Hampshire. She was working in the New England Evangelical Fellowship as a teacher for Daily Vacation Bible Schools that summer. So, I got a job with the First Baptist Congre...Hampshire [portion omitted, tape switched on and off?] as youth director, and so was able to see her and it worked out very nicely for that summer.
WILSON: Was that planned, I mean, that you got those jobs up there [unclear]...?
SHEDD: Well, the location was more or less planned [laughs].
SHEDD: I was looking for an opportunity. I knew from being here and looking on the board for opportunities that...that there was...they were looking for somebody, and....
WILSON: It...but it...it wasn't that the romance blossomed because you were both there. It was that you were both there...
WILSON: ...because the romance had blossomed...
SHEDD: ...it had come...come earlier.
WILSON: Okay. So, then you...you spent a year at Hyde Park then?
SHEDD: Hydewood Park.
WILSON: Oh, Hydewood Park, while your wife was finishing up school?
SHEDD: While she finished her senior year and graduated in '57.
WILSON: And then you were married?
SHEDD: We were married shortly after graduation, in June.
WILSON: And then you...what...by that time had your plans become more firm as to the mission field?
SHEDD: We took a...an extended honeymoon to [thumps table] Guatemala to be with my sister who is...had been on the field for some time, to give Pat a little notion of what the field was like with the idea of either pastoring further, since the work at Hydewood Park was only an interim, it wasn't a permanent invitation to pastor, or to head out for the field as soon as possible, which is actually what happened. We were accepted by the board, CBFMS board in early 1958. We began deputation work in February of that year and had our support in by the Fall. A lot of traveling in the east.
WILSON: How much support did you need?
SHEDD: Well, at that time [laughs] I think that it was around six thousand dollars. I can't remember, but it was....
WILSON: Per annum or...?
SHEDD: Per...per year.
WILSON: And you had all that pledged for...for...
WILSON: ...how many years?
SHEDD: Forever. I mean, [laughs] as long as you work for our mission that's the way it's set up. It's an annual thing, and you only would be cut off if something...radical change or some either doctrinally or something, or of you were cut off by the mission. Either one would be a radical, but that's the way the system works, it's grew up [?], raise the support in pledges, which then is funneled through the mission back to the missionary.
WILSON: What...are these private citizens or churches?
SHEDD: No, these would be churches [pauses]...
WILSON: And so the churches...
SHEDD: ...almost entirely.
WILSON: ...would promise to support you forever and ever...
WILSON: ...as long as you belonged to them.
SHEDD: As long as you were [laughs].
WILSON: Now, when I talked with your wife several weeks ago on the phone, she mentioned that you spent some time starting a church on Long Island while waiting for your [pauses] passports.
SHEDD: That occurred while we were waiting for [clears throat] a permanent visa in Portugal...to Portugal. Since this had now been settled on that we would go to Portugal, teach in a seminary, work with these men who already knew, but the visa simply did not come through. No...no action was taken.
SHEDD: Well, that was typical, I think, of Portugal at the time [clears throat]. They weren't really favorable to missionaries in the country. We were given an option to go without a visa and go in and out of the country every sixty days as a tourist. We didn't look with too much favor on that since it was a fairly large move. By [pauses] July of '58, our first son had been born, and as your family begins to grow, you don't particularly like this idea that you might be thrown out of the country, because you're never sure you'd get back in again. But....
WILSON: What? You would have to cross over into Spain or...?
SHEDD: Into Spain or any other country, but Spain was the most accessible.
WILSON: The obvious [laughs].
SHEDD: [Laughs] Yes. It only took a day or two to go over to Spain and come back. We did that, actually. As soon as we moved to Portugal in '59 of August, early August, late July '59. But in the meantime, since we had our support, there was no reason to be traveling around and sitting. So, we [pauses] were invited by George Washburn of the Wantagh Baptist Church in Long Island to come and work with their family. We got in a group together in Stonybrook. When we arrived we found the group had decided to start another kind of church rather than a Baptist one. So, we went with this one family and started one at Port Jefferson Station, which is today the Calvary Baptist Fort...Port [bumps table] Jefferson Station.
WILSON: These are...it's...it's not a Conservative Baptist...?
SHEDD: Yes, it is. The other church that was going to be started...
SHEDD: ...is now the Free Village Church. So there were two churches started by that one particular initiative, but we weren't involved with that church at all, since the group had already decided. Only one family wanted to go on with the plan of the Baptist church and that's the family we worked with, and worked at a distance of, you know, five miles or so away. It's a very fast growing area in Long Island. And it [pauses, unclear]...
WILSON: Now, was it...
SHEDD: ...very well.
WILSON: Well, was it a largely rural area at that time?
SHEDD: No, it's...it was the very edge of the suburban sprawl on Long Island fifty miles from New York City. People were moving out in droves from Brooklyn and Queens particularly, mainly Jews and Catholics. But occasional Christians from Evangelical churches helped us and we were able to get a church going in the Odd Fellows Hall and within three or four months we had attendance of maybe fifty or sixty people in a solid [clears throat] core. When we left that summer, the church invited Bruce Stickland who came and handled the work in a very acceptable way, so they've just grown and a building had been built. Now they have a school there and five acres of property, and thriving church [laughs].
WILSON: How do you go about church building in a...in a setting like that? Just knocking on doors?
SHEDD: It's mainly by knocking on doors and following up on leads and finding people who know people who are either not happy where they are in a church or something. You need...you need a core of people who are already Christians or win them to the Lord, one or the other. The way the church is growing now is by winning people directly. It's...I was just out there and...because they are one of our big supporters. It really worked out very nicely. The little time of money we gave to them has been paid back many times over [pauses] in support. [Sound of passing truck?] But they have been very successful in winning students, Jewish people, Catholics. It's just amazing.
WILSON: From the area.
SHEDD: From the area. We didn't see too much of that when I was there in '59. There was a good deal of hostility towards a Evangelical church in the area. There was none around in that vicinity, quite a distance.
WILSON: Did...did the Catholic and Jewish population there understand the concept Evangelical?
SHEDD: [Laughs] Probably not.
WILSON: Or was it just a Protestant church? Was that...?
SHEDD: I imagine they thought it was Protestant. They knew they didn't want it. At that time if you remember, (maybe you don't [laughs], you wouldn't remember that far back)...
WILSON: I'm afraid I do.
SHEDD: ...it was a very serious sin to even visit a Protestant church.
WILSON: Oh, I do remember that [laughs].
SHEDD: And so they didn't want to be seduced into anything. We found that the most successful means of evangelizing was through the children. We had a very excellent daily vacation Bible school in June or July of '59, which surprised everybody, including ourselves. The people were willing to let their children go; they had nothing to do, so [pauses] they did come and Catholic....
WILSON: Even the Catholics and Jewish...?
SHEDD: Apparently, yeah, a number of them did. And [bumps table] I don't really know what the proportions were, but....
WILSON: Did they know what Vacation Bible School was all about?
SHEDD: Well, they knew that it was Bible stories. And we...we tried to give them some clue as to the advantages of their children going. Of course, they were glad to get them off their hands. So that there was a tit-for-tat arrangement.
WILSON: Do you...do you remember any specific instances of visiting with people when you were door-knocking of...that particularly pointed out the reception that you got?
SHEDD: I don't know. I [pauses, bumps table]...I remember one couple, who have since become very good friends, the Wakefields, were rather unhappy (they were...they belonged to a liberal church) that I should come and invite them to come to our little struggling work. But it's interesting that although at that time they were not convinced that they ought to come, they later remembered that visit and have become key members in the church today as they realized more and more that they were not getting at all what they were looking for. I remember, yes, many visits here and there [laughs]. But I don't remember any specific response at the time.
WILSON: You ever get doors slammed on you?
SHEDD: Oh, yes, that occurred. More frequently than I would want [pauses, Wilson laughs] to remember. It's not an easy work. I think that's why it's so little done.
WILSON: No doubt. Well I wanted to ask you also, how you happened to choose the Conservative Baptist for a mission society as your mission board? I guess the reason why I wanted to ask you that was on your application form to Wheaton College you put down for your church preference "Independent".
SHEDD: That's true. The reason was because of the friendship which had built up with the men who were in the seminary in Leiria, Portugal. And the fact that I had...when I was working on my doctorate I had stopped to visit them and they welcomed me with open arms, encouraged me to...to come their way. Of course, the ones who were running that program were the CBFMS. So that was what [pauses] actually brought about that decision. It wasn't that I came with a clear mind that I wanted to be with Conservative Baptists and then looked around to see what they had opened, but the other way around, since I wasn't involved in the Conservative Baptist church at the time.
WILSON: But, you found that your...your own theology was pretty much...
SHEDD: Oh yes...,
WILSON: ...in order with theirs?
SHEDD: ...there was no problem. I was a member of a Baptist church, so theologically and...and [clears throat] in terms of right-wing left-wing, they were right where I was. So, it made it very easy. It has been down through the years.
WILSON: Now, you also pastored a church or something in Mississippi for awhile. Weren't you living there for a few years?
SHEDD: We lived in Mississippi for a short time. We didn't actually pastor anything. I was invited to speak in churches. We were invited, in fact, to take over the new struggling Conservative Baptist work in Birmingham. So that we had the two options, one in Birmingham and one in...and that may be what you have in mind. I would think so. But we [pauses]...we didn't feel that that was as likely to be a successful venture at that time. The South [bumps table] has never been very [clears throat] very open to Conservative [bumps table] Baptists. It's, as you know, very strong Southern Baptist, and [pauses] it simply didn't...didn't seem to be the right thing to do at the time. But we were invited to do that, and we met with a group and so they did become a church, as a matter of fact, through the years subsequently.
WILSON: So you finally got yourselves to Portugal. Your visas came through in...?
SHEDD: In Portugal. They were granted there after...
WILSON: Well, after you....
SHEDD: ...three or four months after we were there.
WILSON: So you did go as...
SHEDD: Yes, we went as tourists...
SHEDD: ...traveling in and out of Portugal to Spain and I can not remember exactly how many. Maybe two or three occasions. It was a half year or so of time.
WILSON: So, what...what preparations are necessary on this side of the ocean before you go just for the...the physical details of moving and the getting yourself psyched up for a new culture? It's a vague question. I don't know if it's specific enough to answer or not [laughs].
SHEDD: Well, I didn't look at it that way as being any great thing. I had been overseas and had already visited Portugal. The purchase of necessary items...at that time Portugal was a very backward country. You wouldn't find many of the things that you'd want, so I remember buying (there's a missionary purchasing agency here)...buy things like a washing machine and a stove even things you would never think of buying today for Brazil, for example [laughs]. You just wouldn't think of it. And we had arranged to buy the Cummings car, who were leaving Portugal. They had been under more and more harassment by the government, the PD, the secret police there, because of his evangelistic activities. He was a Youth for Christ man, so he worked out an excellent arrangement for us (and possibly for them) to buy their car and their furniture, because we pretty much moved into their apartment there in Portugal at the seminary apartment.
WILSON: Now, was he teaching at the seminary?
SHEDD: He'd been more involved with evangelism with the farm, which was also connected with land given to the seminary [pauses] years earlier and so it was very easy to move there. And the language was not a great problem. One of the things I did do was to take a self-teaching program, just get a book and start studying Portuguese so that when I got there I didn't find it difficult at all to communicate or to understand them. Never did go to language school, except after I'd been there two or three years, I took a...an advanced course in Portuguese at the university, which was very interesting to get the elitist kind of language [laughs], which I had never heard of [unclear], poetic terminology and that kind of thing. I found that it's...it's almost a completely a different language.
WILSON: Was it easier to pick up Portuguese having known Spanish?
SHEDD: Oh, most definitely. No...no doubt about it at all. It's a great asset.
WILSON: How about your wife?
SHEDD: She took Portuguese individual tutorials with students at school, girls right there. We had a maid that came occasionally and she would learn with her. So she...she sort of learned it in a very unprofessional manner and the effects are still with us. She's never really learned Portuguese in a grammatical way. She just speaks it, you know, the way [laughs] the lower class talk it. And....
WILSON: Well, it gets her around! [laughs]
SHEDD: Yeah, it gets her around! She has no trouble understanding or communicating, but she feels very uneasy when she's asked to speak in Portuguese to a group as she has done on very few occasions [laughs]. She's just so utterly shattered by it because she's so sure that she cannot speak the language in a acceptable way. And that was, I think, probably unfortunate. Probably wouldn't do that again. We would try and get her into a regular school and...so that she learn it and be corrected all along as you're learning it.
WILSON: Well, did you ever speak Portuguese in your home?
SHEDD: No, no. Spoke English in the home.
WILSON: Your children, do they speak...do they speak Portuguese?
SHEDD: Portuguese and English. They always grew up speaking both.
WILSON: When you first arrived...did you go by boat...
SHEDD: More or less, yeah.
WILSON: ...with all of your worldly goods, stove, refrigerator? Now you were moving to where, Lisbon?
SHEDD: We moved to Leiria. Leiria is about 150 kilometers north of Lisbon, right in the center of Portugal.
WILSON: And how did you get from... what? You came into Lisbon? Is that the port of entry?
WILSON: How did you get from Lisbon to...?
SHEDD: To Leiria.
SHEDD: Leiria [laughs].
WILSON: I have it written down here.
WILSON: Yeah, there it is [laughs].
SHEDD: Close. It was very simple. We had the...the missionary colleagues came, met us, and hauled us up there. I guess we rented a truck. I can't remember any particular stuff. We were very soon installed. [unclear phrase]
WILSON: Fairly good highways?
SHEDD: Relatively good. They're two lanes without...without shoulders. That was a new experience to try to drive without shoulders, so you have to be extremely cautious that you never have to leave the roadway, because, of course, you run right into a tree. They're lined by trees, typical of European roads which can make them very dangerous [clears throat].
WILSON: I'll say.
SHEDD: It was a big contrast getting to Brazil, in that your roads have shoulders there, and you look for them in emergencies, but [pauses] not in Portugal.
WILSON: Now, the...can you give me a...a capsule sketch of the Conservative Baptist work with the seminary and all? How did it happen to be there as opposed to anywhere else in Portugal? How long had it been there? What kind of work was being done?
SHEDD: It's a very complex history, the beginning of CBFMS ministry working in Portugal, and I'm not, at the moment, capable of giving the whole history. It's all been written up in a thesis, by the way, written by one of our...our [pauses] emigres from Portugal to Brazil. It's written in Portuguese and we got a copy of it. I think we have it in our library. But it tells the full story of all the details. The work was started by Southern Baptists many years ago, and it's a small work. There're not many Baptist churches in Brazil. But somewhere along the line, a Brazilian called Joao Jorge de Oliveia, who was at the time pastoring up in Massachusetts, became interested in CBMFS and CBMFS was looking for fields [?], so we invited him to come to Portugal. He was connected to with a more independent-minded group of...of Baptist churches in Portugal and they wanted a seminary, so they invited men like Sam Faircloth and Art Brown and Art Lewis and Ken Cummings. All of these men went over. So, when we appeared on the scene, they were very much installed in a...a very thriving program, was a very exciting program at the time. In fact, to this day there's never been as strong a work as far as pastoral training as there was at that time, in the fifties, when excellent young men came for training, twenty-five or so, men who are all in the pastorate to this day and were the very backbone of the Baptist work there. They were also involved in church-starting, evangelism, and publications. They had a full-fledged four...four [pauses]...section work. They wanted to start a hundred new churches, run the seminary (which was the educational arm), evangelism (which would be to reach out to all corners of the country), and carry on an active publishing program. So, the very first meeting of the group that I met with in '59, I presume (this was within a month of the time that I got there) they were looking for somebody to handle the ven...the publishing work. The other three men were involved with church starting, evangelism, and so forth. So, I had no reason to...to turn it down, so I accepted it and it turned out that that was what would eventually take me to Brazil [pauses] was being involved in publishing.
WILSON: Now, the...these twenty-five or so men that you mentioned who were students at the seminary, they...they have all stayed in Portugal or...?
SHEDD: Some went to Mozambique and Angola.
WILSON: As a missionary arm of Portugal...?
SHEDD: They went...they went as pastors. You could call them missionaries. They went as pastors and soldiers. At that time Portugal was...was still trying to hold onto its empire, and had an effective work there, and, of course, with the demise of the Portuguese authority overseas they were back in Br...Portugal again pastoring in...in the churches there.
WILSON: The...the whole Baptist church in Portugal, is that seen there as an indigenous church or is it a mission...?
SHEDD: Well, unfortunately, and this partly was...partly to blame for our leaving as well as some of the other significant men who have left, was that there was a...a distinct rivalry between Southern Baptists, a...an independent Baptist group of churches, pastors and the NABA group. NABA was a Southern Landmarkist Baptist movement. I believe....
WILSON: A Southern what?
SHEDD: Landmarkist. I don't if you know anything about Landmarkist movement.
WILSON: No, no, I don't. Is that southern US or southern Portugal?
SHEDD: [laughs] Southern US.
SHEDD: Southern US. They are...they have some very strange doctrines that you will discover in Baptist churches in the South, some of them, especially rural churches. But it was a movement that started back, I guess, during the Civil War period here. And they continued. They have headquarters in Little Rock. And their theory of missions is to send money and to use that as their political, arm-twisting method. The Southern Baptists weren't very active, but there was a Brazilian Baptist Convention missionary, and he was an outstanding leader, politician-type, and they wanted to consolidate their work under the so-called Portuguese Baptist Convention. Then there were the independent men who didn't want to be involved in that. There was the NABA group, there was the Southern Baptist group, and they're all thrown in there together. And as far as I can tell, the Conservatives were the only ones that had no real political aims. They weren't trying to start any of their own group of churches. They simply wanted to make sure that the work moved ahead. But it...it created some very sticky problems and accusations back and forth. As I said, a very complex history and so about (this is moving at a very fast clip)...about the late 50s and early 60s, so that we...we felt very happy to be able to carry on our publishing ministry in Brazil and possibly come back to Portugal, [pauses] though we never felt that we should do that, as a matter of fact. But that's we had in mind. When we left in '62, it was to stay only one year or two, until our first furlough and then go back to Portugal and continue our ministry. It wasn't because we were...felt definitively about leaving Portugal. But we found such an open door, an opportunity, such a different atmosphere in Brazil as over against Portugal that [pauses] we never did, as a matter of fact, leave or want to leave Brazil.
WILSON: So you're saying that a lot of the problems in Portugal were not that the Portuguese were against the mission as much as the mission was divided against itself?
SHEDD: Yeah, the different groups overseas were using especially money. It was a financial problem. Somehow the work had gotten onto a financial dependence on overseas missions. Conservatives never believed in that. They were very anxious to follow the Nevius method, you know, the church should be self-supporting, self-...self-ruling [laughs], but they were very much opposed to this. But they, because it had started under this means, I think under Southern Baptist auspices. the...the methodology, the missionary methodology, had created this kind of a situation which was really fairly intolerable because no church scarcely supported any of its pastors even though they were large enough to do so. They lived in this...in dependence. And, of course, if you are working for a certain group you have to follow their..their policy line...
SHEDD: ...and it...it was very unfortunate. I...I found that a very discouraging aspect of the work in Portugal, even though we enjoyed the people and enjoyed the work as such. But this being influenced by...by financial considerations which were underneath all the rivalries, as far as I could see, and the dividing of the work into small groups and cliques almost to the end you'd say that there was a very good feeling on the part of the men who studied in seminary. There was a...you know, they really liked the Conservative group. After all, they'd gotten...got their training through them and even to this day there's a close friendship there.
WILSON: In theory, the...the Portuguese Baptist Convention runs its own show? I mean, in theory...
SHEDD: Yes, yes, yes.
WILSON: ...is it as indigenous...?
SHEDD: Yes. [unclear phrase] its own men and so forth.
WILSON: And how big...how big of a denomination is it?
SHEDD: At that time, maybe fifty churches. Today, I don't know how large it is. I haven't been back. [laughs] I've too.... You'd have to read the annual statistics. It's grown, but it has not grown that rapidly. It's...it's been a slow work as over against Brazil. There's just no comparison at all in the work of Portugal and Brazil.
WILSON: When you were in Portugal how big was the average Portuguese Baptist Convention church?
SHEDD: They would...they would range from twenty, thirty members up to about maybe a hundred. So they were just very few.
WILSON: If you're going to be Protestant in Portugal, are you going to be a very dedicated Protestant?
SHEDD: In some cases, not all [laughs]. There...Portuguese are a very reticent people, very slow to make any decisions or they don't like to put their...their neck on the block. They're... they really are. They're not a...they're not a risk-taking people is my impression of them. They're backward looking. Their pride is in their past, not in their future as are countries in the Western hemisphere. It's...it's...it's a very interesting cultural difference, outlook on life the Portuguese have as over against Brazilians.
WILSON: Was the...Portugal has been referred to as probably the most homogeneous population in the world. Did you find that true?
SHEDD: Yes, I think I would...I would say that...that it is. I was [bumps microphone] impressed with the [pauses]...with it's.... You know, if you knew one, you knew them all, pretty much. Their outlook and thinking was...it was extremely characteristic [laughs], the language and the culture, the outlook. Very definitely so. And I think we weren't particularly well-prepared to...to penetrate or infiltrate that kind of mentality [microphone bumped]. I mean, I know that I'd never thought too much about it, what is it that really makes the Portuguese people tick, what makes them think and so forth, make decisions. All that I had never really thought about it. Our preparation for missions back in the fifties was extremely naive and superficial as over against what people are getting today. I mean, over in Trinity [Evangelical Divinity School] and seeing the kind of books that are being written and the courses that are being taken, the whole concept of contextualization. So it's all new over against that period, you know. We've come a long long ways. I'm not sure they're going to be any more effective workers because of it, but at least they're [laughs, Wilson laughs]...they shouldn't be caught by surprise entirely [pauses] as I think we were in those days, as I recall.
WILSON: Did you find that the different classes of people tended to think differently?
SHEDD: Yes, that's true. Definitely different class distinctions. You had your peasant classes that have grown up through the centuries from your peons that worked in the manors and so forth. They're still there, work the fields, the little tiny fields. Then you have the...the middle and upper classes, the educated ones that are professionals, you know, your doctors, lawyers, bankers kind. There's very distinct division between the two.
WILSON: How do they think differently? Or do they?
SHEDD: Well, [laughs]...
WILSON: That's a vague question.
SHEDD: That's the question. How do they think? I would not really be prepared to say at this distance in time. But....
WILSON: Well, when, I mean, you were there.
SHEDD: Yeah, the upper classes, of course, are aware of what's happening in the world and your lower classes are not. The lower classes are extremely...they're closed in their whole outlook on life. And some of the strangest things happening. For instance, Fatima was only a few kilometers from Leiria, the famous Fatima shrine of the...
SHEDD: ...descent of the Virgin [Mary] and the talking with these little girls [in 1917]. You'd find people paying for their vows to Mary, so they made some vow for some illness that someone had gotten better from or hoping that Mary would take notice and heal somebody and so on. Something in that order, they would be making this trek to Fatima on their knees, for instance, all lacerated.
SHEDD: Yeah, literally on their knees [pauses], go for miles like that. Well, you just can't imagine the upper cl...crust doing anything. That's definitely a lower class activity [Shedd laughs] and a kind of a blind faith in the religious teachings that they'd received, which is completely different from the upper classes, who were aware of the world and are listening to radio programs, (TV hadn't come in yet) but would be reading good books and would be aware of very high caliber Portuguese literature for...and so forth. These people knew absolutely nothing about it, scarcely would know the names of these brilliant like [Luis de] Camoes and Alexandre Herculano, and all these others. They didn't even know about them. So you didn't have that. It's... it's primarily your peasant mentality, as over against you're...you're aware of people, you're aware of the world.
WILSON: The upper crust, would they tend to be less devoted to the church?
SHEDD: Oh, definitely. Much less devoted, much less, much more [drums table] cosmopolitan, much more influenced by the French free thinking movement.
SHEDD: More politically aware.
WILSON: I...I read that in Portugal, a very small percentage of the population attends mass weekly as opposed to the enormous percentage that shows up to be baptized and married and buried.
SHEDD: Yes, yes.
WILSON: Your lower classes, do they tend to be more devoted on a...on a weekly basis to the church?
SHEDD: I think it's true in Portugal as it is in Brazil that your...the Catholic Church has a hold on the [drums table] people of a...of a more emotional, celebrative kind rather than any clear idea of doctrine, any clear notion of what the Catholic Church really believes and teaches. This is especially true in Brazil today, but I think it's true in Portugal. I remember stopping at a...right near Fatima and speaking with a man, probably of the peasant class, a farmer. And somehow the conversation turned on the Bible and he immediately asked the question, "Well, what is a Bible?" I mean, that [pauses] is unbelievable, you know, really in a Catholic country, where everybody...everybody's Catholic. They don't even know what a Bible is, much less have one. On another occasion we were distributing Gospels of John in a village near Leiria and we came back. We were walking along this little simple road from village to village (Portugal is full of villages, twenty, thirty houses). When we came back to get our car, we found that all of our [laughs] booklets had been ripped, just ripped in half, you know, and wondered what had caused this strange and unexpected turn of events. And we had found that the priest had just arrived. He had seen what had happened and was urging the people to rip up these Gospels. We wouldn't find that in Brazil today anywhere scarcely. Maybe in the very remotest part of Minas Gerais [Brazilian state] or some places like that, you might. But [pauses] it simply shows an obscurantist attitude, because today the bishops of Brazil have given their endorsement for the distribution of the Scriptures, and they, in fact, are buying more New Testaments, I believe, from the Bible society than Protestants are. Especially the New English Version, New English Version, the New Portuguese Version, which corresponds [Wilson laughs] to the English. It's pretty much a...
SHEDD: ...fluid translation, today's version. It's [pauses]...there's...there's...a tremendous change has occurred. It's even hard to believe as I think back over it, what opposition you would feel from the Catholic Church then, that they had...you know, they had the whole country in their hands. But not in terms of doctrine, but in terms of politics, in terms of the celebration, for the main thing in Portugal [claps hands] were these big feast days, where a whole town would get out and close down for the tremendous processions and booths and selling of trinkets and all this for the patriot saint of that town. That was the big event of the year, you see. A little like Rio de Janeiros would be having now in their carnival celebrations, which is...corresponds to Mardi Gras. But that wasn't such a great thing in Portugal as were these particular feasts for the [claps hands] patron saint of the a town.
WILSON: Did you...were you affected at all in your work and in the seminary or elsewhere by the fact that the Portuguese church was constantly in trouble with the Vatican or at least having disagreements with the Vatican?
SHEDD: Not that I...
WILSON: Or was that some...something that was just wholly outside of your...?
SHEDD: I don't recall it affecting us in any way. I...I do recall, as I've suggested, a strong resistance on the part of people who did not have a favorable attitude towards Christianity. It's interesting that the churches that had grown the most rapidly and were the largest were in what were considered liberal areas of the country. For instance, a town like Marinha Grande near Leiria had a fairly large Baptist church. And the explanation, I believe, was the fact that it was an area where the...a liberal Communist influence had been greater than in the traditionalist towns where nothing had started, where the Catholic church had a stronger hold. But I think there was a...definitely a factor there. But how this [laughs] was related to the Vatican I have no clue at all.
WILSON: The...the folks with whom...the Portuguese with whom you were able to associate and all, did they tend to be more of the upper classes or the peasantry?
SHEDD: The men that came to study in the seminary (of course, teaching in the seminary, I was more closely associated with them) [thumps table] came from your upper-low classes. This would be young people who had been converted in a home, probably a lower class home, but where [pauses] the ideal of reading, for instance, would be instilled at an early age, who'd go to school, but they wouldn't have any money. So maybe all of them were dependent on the mission for supplying their day-to-day food and so forth, since they came to the seminary to live and study. It was not at all a set-up, for instance, which we follow today where the students pay their own way entirely. I wish that we had had that system [bumps table], but it hadn't been thought of at that time, I guess. And it creates it's own problems and difficulties [clears throat]. They would come from the what I call the upper level of the lower class, which has somewhat a different outlook than the pure peasant which doesn't even know how to read, who works only manually, works in the vines. The Portuguese fields are primarily [sound of passing train] producing cork and some grain in the south, but primarily it would be the grape harvest for wine, Portugal's great export [unclear] much in the north of the country. It's great concentration of wine production.
WILSON: Did you have any opportunities for direct evangelism in Portugal?
SHEDD: Yes, indeed we would. Many.
WILSON: This is what, just going out into the villages and...?
SHEDD: Going to villages. We would be there through literature distribution, tracts, Gospels, and [clears throat] I came to the conclusion the most effective means we could reach out was using films. We got a...a Moody Science film and dubbed that in Portuguese. We got a Billy Graham film. Mr. Texas went over very well. And you'd take it to these villages and either show it on a wall or take it into a...a home of a Christian, if you knew one, or somebody would be...allow you to use their home, and go around announcing it in the village. You can always get a good crowd.
WILSON: Just because it was a film? Mr. Texas...
WILSON: ...was the name of the film, the Graham film you used? What's that one about?
SHEDD: Mr. Texas is [pauses]...is a very simple Western story, you know; a cowboy [laughs] and the conversion of [pauses]...of a tough hombre [laughs]. So it sort of gives the story. It was always one of the favorites [bumps table], this Mr. Texas. And so we got that out. Later we were able to get some other films dubbed, but Mr. Texas was spoken and that was a big advantage since they couldn't read fast enough to...to follow the story [laughs] written in the sub....
WILSON: And subtitles?
SHEDD: Subtitles. And it never was a very effective means in Portugal. I guess it would be today for the people who had money to go to these, but if you're moving to these small peasant villages where all the people are farmers it's not a very effective means if it's not a spoken film.
WILSON: And...and you had this one dubbed in Portuguese?
SHEDD: This one had been done, I guess, in Brazil. I don't know, because we didn't handle that. I went over to Switzerland to talk to Billy Graham when he was speaking at the Greater Europe Mission conference, '60 was it? 1960. I flew over there to see him and ask if he would endorse us in putting out these films. And he gave a very rapid okay or something like this [laughs] and we sort of took that as...as grounds for...for working on [pauses]...on other films, though we never did get too many out. When I arrived in Brazil we did work with Billy Graham Association through Chuck Ward in putting out a film or two which have now been taken over by the COMEV, which continues this ministry. It's really quite a large thing now. But it's...began in Portugal and was carried out into...to Brazil.
WILSON: The...the Portuguese peasants that...that would watch these films, were they familiar with the whole idea of the film industry?
SHEDD: Oh, yes. They would...they would at least know that films existed and maybe have even been to a theater occasionally.
WILSON: How...what kind of opportunities would they have had to...to see films?
SHEDD: Very few. I think that's why [laughs] we'd always get a crowd when...it was...it was really quite an exciting thing.
WILSON: Would you couple the showing of the film with speaking to the crowd?
SHEDD: We'd invite the people afterwards to...to consider Christianity, and we also got to work with putting out Joseph Alleine's book called An Alarm to the Unconverted [actual title is An Alarm to Unconverted Sinners] and made that available, especially through the churches.
WILSON: Now, I was thinking that was quite an old work.
SHEDD: It's an extremely old work. It's back in the 1600s.
WILSON: The...he's one of the English Puritans, isn't he?
SHEDD: Yes. Correct. But the Banner of Truth Trust made the funds available and [clears throat] we went to work on that and got it out. A very nice format, hard cover and so forth, with an over cover. And it went as well as any book we ever published in Portugal, because, of course, it was also being pushed in these film showings. And people would buy...it was a subsidized price. They were very reasonable, I think about fifty cents or something at that time, ten escudos. So people who were poor, I guess it...it meant something to them. And [pauses] so that's the way we...we worked there.
WILSON: How would a...a book like Alleine's Alarm... written in a seventeenth century (was is seventeenth? I think that's [unclear])...
SHEDD: Yes, seventeenth century.
WILSON: ...Puritan-English mindset, how did that translate into a twentieth century Portuguese peasant's outlook?
SHEDD: I don't think there's any great difficulty in their getting the message because it is primarily biblical. It's...it's not easy reading at all. It's not a story. But the message is clear, extremely clear. And I think that's why it was as effective as it was, because of its clarity. It simply narrows right the line in a list of signs that you will or will not be accepted before God. And very Pur...Puritan in its outlook, no doubt about that.
WILSON: Did you have any specific instances where you knew that people had come to the Lord as a result of [unclear in overlap]?
SHEDD: Not many. I do remember we got a letter from one person who [pauses, bumps microphone] had become a Christian through reading this book. I simply do not know how effective. We didn't do any market analysis [laughs] afterwards to discover how many of these people really did read the book and were actually touched by it.
WILSON: Would you endure open opposition from the clergy in the areas where you would evangelize?
SHEDD: Not...not often.
WILSON: Other than the ripping up of your Gospels of John.
SHEDD: And that was only because he happened to show up at the time. Most of these villages wouldn't see a priest for a long time [clears throat], long intervals [bumps table], and so you were really quite free [laughs] and...to do whatever you want to, but you would ha...you would have to be there [pauses] to arouse the opposition. This was a least always true in Bolivia, that people are quite docile [laughs] until the priest showed up and then you'd get the unmistakable signs of his being around.
WILSON: He's the one that whipsawed [?] the motion, huh?
WILSON: [Laughs, pauses] You mentioned the Fatima Shrine or whatever. You've obvi...obviously have been there. What were your impressions of...of what it's like, how the people react to it, what kinds of people are there? Those who have arrived on [Shedd clears throat] bloodied kneecaps.
SHEDD: The [pauses] situation of Fatima or the religious impact of the Fatima is extremely great on a certain level of people. The feeling is similar to which some Protestants have going to Palestine, you know, that God has been here, very strong. Have that little hut there where they have stacked up innumerable crutches and other signs of...of miracles that have been operated by the...by the Virgin, all are very effective means of communicating her presence, she's here. She's here in that image there that's in that big cathedral here that they built there, almost a cathedral. [coughs] The fact that she has come. Same thing is true in Brazil. You have these two or three places in Brazil called aparecida, means "she has appeared." And it's...completely displaces the incarnation in the minds of the people. It is much more recent. This occurred only, you know, a few years ago. We maybe even know somebody that [laughs]...
WILSON: That means somebody that has [laughs]....
SHEDD: ...[laughs] saw...
SHEDD: ...saw the Virgin, you see. There's a humorous side to it. Someone else closer to Lisbon and on the main road, (Fatima is somewhat off the main road into Lisbon and to the north) decided the Virgin would appear in his place, too. So he got that going. And [pauses] I don't know if you know that Fatima was rejected by the [Catholic] Church, the official hierarchy for a long time, but the popular pressure to accept it as reality was so great that finally the Church did a complete turn-about and promoted it. They were still rejecting this man's claim that the Virgin had appeared to him, but still it was a little thing going there. People would come and visit, leave their shekels. Of course, there's a strong influence of finances there, great deal of sale, charms and all that's involved in this magic kind of religion. Doctrines of almost no importance, but the feeling, you know, of reality attached to places and things, which has always been connected with idolatry is very strong.
WILSON: Now, those three children to whom the Virgin appeared, quote unquote, two of them died shortly after that. But the third, quote, became a nun, didn't she?
SHEDD: I guess so. I don't...you know, I'm not really much aware of what happened. I know she lived for a...to...to old age and they were supposed to have opened recently, not too recently, but a few years ago, the document that gives her predictions and so forth. You knew that?
WILSON: Oh, no I didn't. I knew that she had died within the last years, but I didn't know what all [unclear]....
SHEDD: They were allowed to open this document. I really need to do some research to give you any details on this, and these predictions were sufficiently accurate, you know, about the future [laughs] that you know the Virgin must have spoken.
WILSON: Oh, these are the predictions that the Virgin...
WILSON: ...gave these children. Fascinating.
SHEDD: I guess we have a little eschatology thrown in. [laughs, Wilson laughs]
WILSON: The [pauses]...the Baptist church in Portugal. Steadily growing at the time you were there?
SHEDD: Yes, it was growing. Some places quite rapidly, other places, very slowly. I feel that the [pauses]...the failure to continue to train men for the ministry and for the ministry to carry on its own cost in paying for itself, the churches not giving sufficiently has been debilitating in the extreme as over against Brazil. Brazil has a completely different outlook with sums of money that are astonishingly coming into the churches and a steady and growing stream of young people studying for the ministry. To this day the seminary and [unclear] at Queluz only has six or seven students, you see. It has never been what it was even back in the 50s, when it should be a...a growing thing all the time. It's...it's very sad.
WILSON: The...the Portuguese family, is that the backbone of Portuguese society?
SHEDD: Yes, it would be, I'm sure. I'm sure.
WILSON: What...what effect does the whole machismo image have in Portugal...Portuguese outlook and mindset and tradition?
SHEDD: Nothing like it does in Spain or in Spanish America. Machismo is not a particularly strong characteristic of the Portuguese. Portuguese people tend to be much more peace...peaceful..peace-loving. You see this in the history of the country and the history of Brazil. There have been very rare revolutions as over against the Latin Spanish American. It's [pauses] not a very strong factor as I evaluate it.
WILSON: Were you able to have give and take with Portuguese women...
WILSON: ...as well as the men? It was acceptable for you to...? What about your wife? Was she able to establish any...any kind of connections with Portuguese women and her day-to-day...?
SHEDD: Not a great deal. There'd be some...I mean, some friends with them, but not many. It's a very slow process, the making of friends in Portugal. Suspicion, hold-off attitude. But once this had been overcome, you have a friendship for life. It's a very deep one, but slow.
WILSON: Would the fact that you had young children help to bridge that gap?
SHEDD: I can't remember that that was a very important factor at all in...
SHEDD: Yeah, playmates [laughs, clears throat]. I can't remember. We weren't out in the typical village church planting ministry, so I'm sure that they would have a great deal more influence. But being as we were, living in the seminary building and so forth, our contact was really with the students, who were not married and.... So it really wasn't an important factor in our experience.
WILSON: The...you mentioned a Mr. Cummings...
WILSON: ...who received you there. They left shortly after you...?
SHEDD: They left even before we arrived. Just about the same time or just before.
WILSON: Now they're a they or a he?
SHEDD: Yes, it was a family, Ken and Wanda.
WILSON: Now, what kind of...you said that they had had steadily growing opposition from...from who? the church or the government or is that the same [unclear]?
SHEDD: That would be the government, yes. But the pressure would come through the Church which was closely related as in Spain and Portugal, the close alliance between the government and the...and the Catholic Church.
WILSON: Now, the opposition was because of his...you said his evangelism efforts Was he being singled out as an example or...?
SHEDD: Well, he was the one who was out...out the most, and would get the crowds and so forth, that would have drawn people, as was Art Brown. Details of that ministry which occurred primarily before I came would...you'd really ought to talk with Art, who is the pastor for Village Church, you know, in Western Springs, because he was there at that time and he would really give you details on the [bumps table] Portuguese situation that I am really not aware of. He also was out a great deal. They were both Youth for Christ men and, of course, friends of Billy Graham. And...and they had had such good evangelistic meetings in Portugal prior to that, that that's what took them there. Ken Cummings and Art went to Portugal because of their feeling that the country was ripe in the '50s, the middle '50s. See, and you are here in the grad school back in '51, '52, and very enthusiastic about the opportunities in Portugal. It was, you know, sort of coming open a little like Spain has come since the...since the end of the Franco era.
WILSON: But they immediately ran into...
SHEDD: ...the opposition was still there.
WILSON: The...what...was success what brought the opposition on?
SHEDD: Yes, yes. It would have been the interest of the people [clears throat], how great the interest was, what kind of meetings, they...all this. I'm not really up on it at all well.
WILSON: What sort of things were done by the government to show their opposition?
SHEDD: Well, what they do is that every time you went out of the country, they didn't have visas, at least Ken didn't. I guess maybe Art did. But they would...they'd give you a warning: "You're going to have to stop this. You can't keep coming in and out. In effect you're really acting as though you're a permanent residence...resident, when you're not. And we're not going to let you do that. So they'd have to leave maybe for a longer period of time, and come in by some other borders. I don't know exactly all was involved in that, but they were made very much aware. And they might get communications, "We're watching you," and warnings.
WILSON: So [pauses]...oh, I wanted to ask you the...the big wheel in the Portugal, in the government, the fellow by the name of Salazar.
WILSON: Salazar. Did you ever have any opportunity to come into contact with him at all?
WILSON: Now that's short and sweet. [both laugh] Did you ever run into...well, I guess we have talked about a little bit the...the superstitious almost witchcraft side of Catholicism in Portugal? Am I even asking a....
SHEDD: I would say rather than witchcraft, what impressed us more would be the magic in religion. Religion so easily slipped into magic. It's the idea of bargaining with God or not necessarily with God but with the Virgin or with your amulet. You know, "I'll do this if you'll do this for me." That bargaining kind of Christianity or carrying out the light ritual to gain some benefit. Very important part of it is...is this magic, religion as magic. Now in Brazil you do have the witchcraft element. But this came from Africa and not particularly Portugal. African and the Indian populations have maintained the spiritist, especially the low black magic that you call which is involved in the spirit world. But not in Portugal. It was much less common there. I don't remember running into it in Portugal, but the magic that's related to the idol's presence and praying to the idol and gaining benefits or paying off vows is very common in Portugal. That was the religion of the country.
WILSON: Is that something that was championed by the clergy?
SHEDD: Well, they stood to gain by it, especially financially. It was a real hold over the people.
WILSON: Did they realize that it...I mean, did the clergy believe in it or did they...?
SHEDD: That's a very good question, what they believed? What do they really believe? That's a good question.
WILSON: Do you know the answer? [laughs]
SHEDD: I have no idea. I presume it would depend a lot on the class that the clergyman came from. If he came from the lower class I wouldn't be surprised if he did believe it and that he would hold strongly to this kind of a faith and the right ritual, the right activities and right location and the right image and the right prayers. But I think the higher classes, those who'd been influenced by the wider world and by your French agnosticism would probably not believe in it, but I'm just guessing. I have no real idea [laughs]. It would be interesting to go over and ask these men, you know, what do they believe.
WILSON: Did you ever have an opportunity to discuss or debate with any of the Roman Catholic clergy over there?
SHEDD: Never, never. It wasn't done in my time there. While the early days, you know, the early days of this century in Brazil, that was a very common method of evangelization was to debate the priest, to announce it through the local paper and the priest would be very greatly embarrassed if he were unwilling to do so, because then he would be afraid, you see, the Protestants really had truth on their side. But that was...was not a very important feature in the...in my time. It may have been in the earlier periods, very likely was, but it was very important in Brazil. It's [pauses] fascinating to hear these old-timers like Eurodice Queiroz, who has until recently pastored a large Liberdade Church and died a year or two ago, tell of his fascinating encounters with priests. Just fascinating. The same would be true of a man like Solomon Ginsburg, one of the great Baptist pioneers of the work in Brazil, and others of that caliber. They...they just thrived on these debates. Nothing like that was happening in Portugal.
WILSON: Now you...you left Portugal because...why?
SHEDD: The confusion of the work was a factor, maybe the main factor. We got our mind opened towards going to Brazil with the decision to put out the first commentary on the whole Bible, The New Com...Bible Commentary put out by Inter-Varsity Press, and the discouraging level of sales in Portugal. We'd published a number of works: Dr. Tenney's New Testament Survey. We put out Phillip's Letters to Young Churches. Books like that had already been done. Joseph Alleine's book. I can't remember how many others we put out...some theological works. But they just did not sell. They were just sitting there on the...on the shelves. The sales were so slow that it...it impressed me that we would soon not have any space to store...store and we'd have such a tremendous volume of money tied up, we would simply have to stop publishing. We just can't keep putting out more and more titles with such a slow sale. We were well aware of the fact that Brazil had a much larger Christian Evangelical population, which made us assume that they must have a great deal more sales. The thing that greatly increased our interest in going to Brazil was contact with Ruth Siemens of Inter-Varsity, who went around, picked up some bids for us and finally we found out that [pauses] back in 1962 it would cost us at least a thousand dollars less to print this commentary in Brazil as over against Portugal. That was...a thousand dollars was quite a sum of money. So we requested that the mission grant us a year to go there to set up our distribution agency for our books that we would be able to ship them from Portugal, get them sold, start the revolving fund going, and print the commentary with Mr. Page funds [?]. See, they had money coming in with the special project funds for publishing, and so we weren't low particularly on funds. We could always ask for more annually. But we were...simply weren't getting the revolving thing going to any extent at all. So that's what moved us to leave and finally they granted that permission. We left in '60...'62.
WILSON: Did you move lock, stock and barrel to Brazil?
SHEDD: Pretty much. We sold furniture and so forth. We did move, planning to stay probably until our furlough, which would be coming up in '64 or '5. Actually we did leave in '64 [unclear], so we had two years to work.
WILSON: So at the time you did intend to return to Portugal?
SHEDD: That was our original idea.
WILSON: Before we can get...get away from Portugal entirely, I wanted to ask you about mission or relations with other missions. Did you have many contacts with other missions in Portugal?
SHEDD: We were brought into contact with the Southern Baptists through the Tennisons, who were the first missionaries to come back into Portugal after quite a period of time. And we got to know them and had rather good relationships with them. We were in contact with the Brazilian Baptist missionaries, Helsio Lessa, who had been there for a number of years and then left before we did back to Brazil. We were in contact as well with the TEAM missionaries, Luke Boughter and Dean Frederickson, and, I guess primarily those two.
WILSON: Now, where was TEAM working?
SHEDD: They were working in the Lisbon area. They had a thriving work at that time, for '59 to '62. That was the time where they were there really growing rapidly through...called the Carmo Group, kind of a Brethren assembly, which was winning people in large numbers. I was...it as very impressive to see how fast their work was growing. They had the book store and I was involved with them in their [pauses] publishing program as well. They had a sort of a committee of Brazilian...I mean Portuguese and missionaries. They invited me to sit in on that, so I'd go to Lisbon for those meetings. So we were involved in a publishing program outside of our own called the Livraria Alegria in Lisbon, which was run and owned by TEAM, by TEAM mission.
WILSON: And you first went to Portugal, you went...no, not Portugal, Brazil, did you leave behind any...any plans of returning to teaching in Portugal? Was...was that...was it mainly the teaching or the publishing, the writing that you were...?
SHEDD: If...if we were to go back, I'm sure it would have been primarily for the teaching ministry, since our idea was that...that publishing would probably go better in Brazil. And our thought was to get a commission going, which we worked on very arduously for the first two years...to get a commission growing and moving, composed of Brazilians, especially with Inter-Varsity leaders that would have the kind of outlook that Inter-Varsity Press in Britain and, of course, in this country would have, that is publishing books for thinking people, for your pastors, seminarian, but yes, also for your professionals. And our hopes were that they would be able to carry on that work. We might be able to work with translation, that kind of thing in Portugal, but they would actually do the printing. This was never really thought through too well, because we weren't always sure that we would be going back. The seminary was in a very precarious situation at that time due to the conflict between the missions and the financial allegiance that it was producing, that they were producing in the country, in which the CBFMS was being left out in the cold since they had no money to...to try to buy up their own followers, so they never did have a real clear assurance that we would ever be back there. It was never very clear.
WILSON: Did you leave with any regrets?
SHEDD: No, I can't say that I did. I felt that it was a good period, a crucial period, a very learning time, and adjusting to people, and to situations, language, teaching, all began there in Portugal [laughs]. Of course, the publishing work, we'd gotten into that quite...quite heavily, learned a lot, how to do it.
WILSON: So, when you arrived in Brazil, what...what area...where did you originally settle?
SHEDD: We went to Sao Paulo.
WILSON: And have you remained there?
SHEDD: All the time out of the last twenty years we were out, twenty years adventure.
WILSON: What about Sao Paulo is...what is obviously different about Portugal that...I mean, what kind of different culture were you encountering now than you'd been used to for three years? What...what immediately is a different situation now that you're encountering here?
SHEDD: I hinted at...at some of the differences. Maybe the major one one would be impressed with immediately is that Sao Paulo is a moving place, really fast moving. Fortunes being made and lost, you know, sort of an overnight kind of thing, as over against a very slow moving culture. Buildings going up everywhere, houses being built and population moving in, and movement, money, risk-taking. Very different from Portugal. Very, very different in that sense. It's not the same kind of culture at all in that way.
WILSON: And your...your immediate duties in Port..I mean Brazil, consisted of...of what?
SHEDD: Yes, of working as closely as possible with a couple of Brazilian leaders who already involved in...well, one was involved with bookstores, so we wanted to get involved in that, so that we would have the assistance of Brazilians who knew the language well and who would give us continual encouragement and advice in the publishing work. So we got connected there. We early made friends with a fellow called Silas Goncalves, who was a manager of the financial section of Texaco, a very outstanding Christian evangelist who had had a good work amongst the favelados, the slum dwellers in Sao Paulo, gotten a church built and so forth. He came from the Brethren church, you understand, not [bumps table] from the Baptist church. So [clears throat] we moved together to start putting aside [unclear] as a limited company. And we worked out an arrangement with the mission whereby they would invest a sum of money for any given book, whatever it would cost to publish it, and that that money would then be secured by contract between myself and these other two Brazilian men, Silas and Dino Cibela. And through the bookstore this money would be maintained in dollars, in dollar amounts. So whatever happened...(Brazil has a fast inflation...inflationary economy), that whatever happened inflationary-wise, these men would be well enough off to be able to supplant any losses, but they would also be able to take any profits. And I had arranged with the mission that I would return any profits back into the missions publishing program. Our field conference, which was formed just at the time that we arrived, (there were missionaries coming down from the north of Brazil seeking to start working in the state of Sao Paulo), was formed also in 1962 and so they agreed to this plan and so the publishing arm came under the leadership of the literature committee of the field, CBFMS field in South Brazil. And I was its chairman. I would have to report back to the...to the field. The same time we...we had close connections with Inter-Varsity and its leaders to form this commission that would select the books, so that the mission would not be selecting them independently, but work through a committee of...of key thinkers in Brazil, not only of the Baptist field, but others as well. So men like Samuel Escobar were on this committee. He happened to be living in Brazil at the time, near us, a good friend. And [pauses] Valdyr Luz Caralho would be one of the most outstanding grammarians and thinkers to this day in Brazil. He was a teacher in the Presbyterian seminary in Campinas. Men of this character who had formed the commission that would select the books and CBMFS would supply funds and as the books were sold this revolving fund would always be kept with the equity of the dollars that had been given by...by Mr. Page funds by CBMFS. So that was the scheme. And we went into this [pauses] full speed the very first year we arrived in Brazil. We were able to get out a number of small books, some nine titles within a year or so. By the second year, by 1963, a commentary was pretty much in print in three volumes. We were able to get out Stott's book like Basic Christianity and a number of other titles. We were able to import books that were sitting on our shelves in Brazil and get them into the bookstores and pretty soon sales were moving at quite a fast clip. It was...it was very different in that sense from...from our work in Portugal.
WILSON: Well now, were you aiming, with all these books that you were publishing there in...in Brazil, was the market specifically dovetailed to a church audience, to a Christian group who is reading? Are you nurturing their...their Christian...
WILSON: ...growth or are you looking also toward evangelism of the unchurched and of the unChristian?
SHEDD: Our assessment of the field in Brazil was that the main necessity was for books for your thinking...thinking Christian and non-Christian. So along with Inter-Varsity, which was just getting started in Brazil back in the early '60s, we...we felt we should put out some evangelistic works such as Stott's book, at least, you know, a careful statement of what...what it is to become a Christian, how you become a Christian, as well as books for seminarians and so forth. So we had that in mind and have ever since, though we have concentrated more and more in the area of your training books, teaching books, textbooks for seminarians and so forth, theo...theological works.
WILSON: So [pauses] I guess I'm asking what kind of...of a context did you enter in Brazil toward [pauses] winning souls with your work or toward...?
SHEDD: It wasn't our main thrust, no. Our main thrust would have been in the nurturing area, no question about it, simply because the Brazilian church quite...quite contrasted to Portugal, was a...an evangelistic church. Very much so. They...they really emphasized evangelism, while the content of their knowledge of what Christianity is was weak. It would have to be weak simply because there were no books, practically none at all in Portuguese [that] he thinking Christian could say, "Well, here's the answer to the questions I have about Christianity." Amazing lack in this area. No apologetic works, no commentaries on the whole Bible. There was a commentary here and there. Very, very little that...that would answer questions. We put the first book out on inspiration, for instance; first book out on the Trinity, first book on immortality by [Loraine] Boettner for instance; first book on life after death. All these are the first. So you have a...a...a non-thinking Christianity. So we felt, well, this is...we've got to come up with this void or the church will...will not have any...any capacity to defend itself or to grow or to teach its upcoming pastors. And I feel that is the main weakness to this day. It's still a great weakness.
WILSON: So, you arrived in Brazil with a church that was already established...
SHEDD: Very much so.
WILSON: ...and growing and yet not a whole lot of underpinning?
SHEDD: That's right. Or knowledge. Little knowledge. Especially the Bible. We're...we're in a country where there are tens of thousands of lay preachers, workers, preaching-point attenders [laughs], who go out and will start a work anywhere: a living room, in a garage, out in the open air, anyplace where they can meet, but who have about a fourth grade education, almost no knowledge. What they're talking about, this is your...vast number of your...your preachers of that caliber in Brazil today. We hadn't seen this in Portugal. We didn't have this spontaneous lay movement. And that certainly affected us in...in [pauses] deciding back in 1963 when the idea of first crossed my mind that we need an annotated Bible which we would put in the hands of lay workers, that will give them some background as to what the Bible teaches so they can quickly come up with an outline under any topic. So it would be a topical outline and I immediately thought of the...of the chain reference Bible with its topical system [pauses, clears throat], and that would have notes that would at least give them some clue as to what the passage and that page was talking about. So that's what this Bible is. I brought this along to show you. [slides Bible on table] You can see it here. It's now out. It's been out since 1967 and, I guess, we're getting ready to print fiftieth thousand (we have forty thousand in print since '6...since '77). It took us fourteen years to get it out. You can see from '63 to '77, what all problems and difficulties that we had.
WILSON: Now, is this...is this a work that was published to be used specifically as a study Bible, as...?
SHEDD: It's a lay preacher's Bible. That's what it is. It's a workers Bible so that if at any time he wants to preach on any passage, just looking down at the bottom of the page he'll have some clues, including outlines for the paragraphs. He can use the numbering system as he's reading through the passage. You see that every one of those topics which relates to the line [bumps table] that it's next to, every one of these topics has a number attached to it in the back if the Bible. All he has to do is look up that number. Then he will have something to say about that phrase or that topic, you see. This...it's between that. That's the outlines of the books. It's not in that section. [Turns pages] However, it's in this [bumps table] section here, you see. All of those numbers are...correspond to these numbers in the back which outlines what the text says about that idea. Here, for instance, is the idea of recompense or rewards and punishment. So, if you wanted to speak on that subject all you had to do was to look up in this and find all of these passages.
WILSON: And this cross reference is, say from...from a...a passage, (here we're in First Corinthians) you see a...a reference, what that goes back to...?
SHEDD: [Train passes] To that line. Whatever is being said in that particular line is then detailed in that topic, and the topic has its number. The number simply gathers together the other passages and outlines them.
WILSON: Okay, so...
SHEDD: The way it works.
WILSON: ...so, it...it at once cross references...
SHEDD: That's right, and gathers and outlines...
WILSON: ...other passages
WILSON: ...and then on the back discusses the subject, or....
SHEDD: There's no discussion of it. It just...it just outlines it. It outlines for you in a topical fashion. For instance, if I were to read any one of those topics, you just look up any one of them. It will...it will give you either references where that idea to be found or it will outline them. For instance, this one happens to under election, 1,107, is the first topic of the election of Christ as the Messiah is found in these passages. The election of the good angels: 1 Timothy 5:21. Election of Israel: Deuteronomy 7:6. And so, you see, you have it all outlined. Then it has the election of the saints. Then it has all of these subtopics under that one with all of the passages that go under it. So, if you're ever reading a passage in which the line in the text mentions election you'll have that topic here in the line with its number and you just look it up. So you can get the knowledge and be able to speak about it, [unclear].
WILSON: Of...the...the point being that you are now, "you" meaning...meaning the [pauses] teacher in the...in the [pauses] church in a given village, or a place in Brazil, that that person is now able to be more at home with the Bible and more aware of what's there?
SHEDD: That's right. He has...what he really has is a biblical theology here. Any one of these topics, of course, is a theological subject; at least most of the mains ones are. And so by looking them up, he can teach himself what does the Bible teach on any given subject, over four thousand different subjects with the verses that teach that. It actually tells them what it teaches, but he can look it up and see what...does it really teach that if he wants to, but he can find it's...generally you won't have any difficulty with it corresponding what that outlines says. The Bible teaches that God elects the saints under these and these and these conditions, what kind of election it is and so forth. So he's learning what the Bible doctrine of election.... It really is a biblical theology in a very simplified form without any discussion. Now there is a theology of the Bible. It's a layman's theology, a very short one which comes at the end of the introductions to each book of the Bible, which is this section, here. And then that's..that's this part here. Here's a theology for laymen. So he's...he could read this and give him what we'd call a systematic theology. For instance, here's a discussion of conversion. What is conversion? What is repentance? What is faith? What is reconciliation and peace with God? What is the new birth? What is eternal life? And here they all are, you see, that...and a discussion of that sort. But this section which is the main feature of the Bible, here, [bumps table] is a biblical outline of what the Bible teaches on over four thousand subjects, so that's what we hope then that they would use in their preaching.
WILSON: Now, the four thousand subjects, were they something that you devised or...?
SHEDD: No, this comes [bumps table] out of the...the Thompson chain reference system. It's a numbering system. But it has a great deal more in it than the Thompson Bible. We wanted to increase it a great deal by adding in the new topical textbook, which was put...put out in the 1840s, which is this simple outline that you see here. I can tell the just by looking at it the difference; this is part of that new topical textbook. So while the chain reference Bible tends to put the whole verse or just references, this actually outlines your main subjects in the Bible and gives a little phrase as to what those verses teach, wherever the verses teach a certain thing, then it will put the references plus the teaching of that verse in a phrase. So it's easier to use that way.
WILSON: Now did this have for a...a minister or a study leader or...or anyone who is going to try to...to use [pauses] his faith in evangelizing others, does a Bible of this sort then equip him to be certainly more at home in his faith and in...
SHEDD: I certainly hope so. [laughs]
WILSON: I mean, I guess I'm not asking does, but how? You know, through...through having something like this, how then is he more able to immediately understand doctrines and...and Bible and...
WILSON: ...be...be more equipped to...?
SHEDD: It's such a simple approach. We felt it had to be simply because of its numbering system, that for instance if you know one verse like John 3:16, just look up those topics, you pretty soon will have a theology of conversion. Or 1 John 1:12, the idea of receiving. Well, look up what's on that line, see. What does it mean to receive Christ? Then you look up those verses. So little by little you develop...any questions you can find the answers to right away because the verses have on the side these other verses that will tell you all...to receive Christ mean this and this and this and this. By its...by its very context, you can see that [clears throat].
WILSON: And not only means this and this, but it also says here, here, and here. Is...is that the idea?
SHEDD: That's right. They will show you the locations; of course, gives you all of the references. We haven't promoted that particular aspect of the Bible as being a [pauses] personal worker's tool, because we have other books out that are specifically geared to that, which are much much easier to use or quicker to use and much shorter [laughs]. For instance, we have [James] Kennedy's book on Evangelism Explosion, which is a...a systematic way to approach a person. Or we have Paul Little's book out, How to Give Away Your Faith. That's one of our titles as well. Well, those books are what we'd be most likely to put in the hands a...for instance, "Well, I want to know how to win people to Lord," rather than this. And yet, this would be a much more comprehensive tool. Anything you want to know is right there that's in the Bible. The difference, of course, here it's not discussed while in those other books it would be discussed. You'd have a more theological discussion of it, how to do it.
WILSON: We have about two inches left on that tape. I'm going to turn this one off since we're about to run out.
END OF TAPE