This is a complete and accurate transcript of the oral history interview of Russell Shedd (CN 201, T3) 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, T3. Interview of Russell Shedd by Galen Wilson on February 24, 1982.
WILSON: This is Wednesday, February 24, 1982. We are here in the Billy Graham Center Archives with Dr. Russell Shedd for another interview concerning his mission work. This morning we're going to concentrate on his work in Brazil with the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society. Just before we turned the tape recorder on, we were talking a little about Mardi Gras, since it ended last night. What...what is the Brazilian idea of Mardi Gras and [pauses] how seriously do they take it? Why do they do what they do? What...how does it fit into their religious experience, to their secular experience?
SHEDD: It's the major holiday of the year in Brazil, called Carnival not Mardi Gras. But it begins on Friday of the week before and goes all through the weekend and on into Wednesday morning. In fact, no one will be at work today until noon, and some people will straggle in and many won't [pauses] all day long. So it takes a day to recover. They'll spend the night [clears throat] mainly dancing the sambas. And in Rio de Janeiro, where it's the...the great celebration, quite different from Sao Paulo and more serious places. Rio is a resort city. It's a time of great release, and as you were mentioning earlier, crime, because of the feeling that whatever you do is soon to be forgotten with the at least outward expression of repentance on Ash Wednesday. What happens is that the favelas or the slums, which are more or less like towns within the main city of Rio, form their own dancing groups and will work for months, maybe a year, preparing the costumes they'll wear and so forth. Then these groups will go down through the main street of Rio and they will be judged. This gets a great deal of publicity in the main magazines and newspapers and so forth. It's very wild. Very wild indeed. In the clubs for the higher class and on the streets for these low class, a great deal of money is wasted and spent. A lot of drinking [clears throat], drunkenness. And as you say, a lot of crime, a lot of time for people to get even if they want revenge and so forth. It's the best time to handle this. So the police will run wild trying to keep up with it all. I'm sure they don't keep up with even a fraction of it.
WILSON: Is there any pretense on it being a religious celebration?
SHEDD: Well, it's...as the name carnival suggests, it's a feast of the flesh. It's the last release before Lent when you go into the penitential period of your life before Easter, forty days before Easter. So it's sort of the opposite to religion.
WILSON: Is Lent taken seriously?
SHEDD: I guess by good Catholics it is. I'm not aware of many people taking it very seriously at all. The Evangelical communities use Carnival as a...as a major retreat time. Anybody that is anything will be retreating somewhere [laughs] as of this last weekend starting either on Saturday or.... For instance, I never fail to be out speaking at some time and usually very important times for the year for the young people particularly. This is a way of separating the Christian community from the celebrations they might otherwise be tempted to...to participate in.
WILSON: Is that pretty much a...a missionary thing or does it try to reach out to native Brazilians as well?
SHEDD: No this is Brazilians. This is what I am talking about. Missionaries [unclear in overlap]....
WILSON: Oh, oh, okay.
SHEDD: They may have started it. They have very little to do with it now. No, it's the...it's the national churches. They'll plan large and very interesting times, many youth retreats that will bring the whole organization together if possible into one location or camp. It's almost impossible to find a...find a camp available this time of year, simply because they're signed up so long ahead, just for this purpose. They'll go out to a farm or [pauses] just any...any way to get away [laughs] from the city and its...its lures.
WILSON: Huh. Is...is the Evangelical population of Brazil...of the indigenous population, is it a significant number?
SHEDD: Oh, very significant, yes, indeed. Millions, millions of Evangelicals in Brazil today. About seventy percent Pentecostal.
WILSON: What are the relations between the Pentecostal churches and the other Protestant churches?
SHEDD: Well, almost non-existent. They...there is almost nothing of relations, except that they are Evangelical. They recognize that they're preaching more or less the same message, but they don't have anything in common as far as meeting together or [pauses] retreating together or asking speakers or preachers or pastors from one group to speak to the other. It's not done at all.
WILSON: But they're not basically antagonistic, are they?
SHEDD: Well, they can be. They can be some. But the [clears throat] Pentecostals, the assemblies and so forth are very insulated, and therefore isolated from the rest of the Evangelical...
WILSON: In what regard?
WILSON: Phys...I mean, geographically or...?
SHEDD: No, no. [laughs] Mentally.
WILSON: Oh, okay [laughs].
SHEDD: They simply don't want the influence one or the other and the mainline denominations...the non-Pentecostals consider the Pentecostals some...almost sectarian. I don't know if you'd find that in this country much, but down there you would, and consider them definitely second-class Christians. But that's true of your denominations anyway. They're very [pauses] inward-looking. It's...it's not quite as free as it is here. Interdominational outlook is not...is not common.
WILSON: A couple of weeks ago, you mentioned, after we turned off the tape recorder, about the Lutheran church in Brazil and the...I don't know if comeback is the right word or Evangelical upsurge or whatever. Would you get into that a little bit for me?
SHEDD: The Lutheran church is...is large because of the immigrant population.
WILSON: Immigrants from...?
SHEDD: From Germany. They came over to Brazil at the end of the last century, the late 1800s and early 1900s and settled in the open country in the interior of the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Parana, [clears throat] so they have very strong influence in that region. So much so that you will find towns like Blumenau and Joinville, which don't sound at all Brazilian and the people speak Portuguese with an accent and speak German, I guess, the way Germans speak it. It's really...Portuguese [sic] is almost the second language, although the government forces them to put their children in Portuguese speaking schools. It's not permitted, for instance, to have public schools that speak German. In the home, they're speaking German. So [clears throat] the Lutheran community, (for these are all Lutherans, almost to the man), are typical of...of Germany. They're large communities but very little involvement of the people, very low attendance, very small contributions to the churches, and although they would have, you know, ten thousand people as members of the church, you might only have two hundred in church, attending. So what it is is a...it's a community religion. The seminary, that I think I may have mentioned that I was asked to speak there last April, is extremely liberal. Their teachers are trained in Germany. But what is happening, and I think you referred to this, is that there are some truly born-again Evangelicals in the Lutheran community and it's a growing group. Their enthusiasm is spreading. Their joy and piety is noticeable. So within the seminary there's this group of maybe fifty students, now, (and ten years ago there may have been only about half a dozen) that's growing and they...the pastors who by attending the seminary are guaranteed churches, are having a...a real influence out in the country...in the field. They don't control the top echelons of the denomination, but they are having an influence with people being converted and churches becoming evangelized. The people within the church are...are coming to know Christ. And they are also organized...have organized an annual conference for the Evangelical community, which they bring Christian speakers in and these are published in abstracts and so forth. It's had a good influence and very impressive as to what's happening there. So we needed some missionary revival movement within Lutheranism.
WILSON: Is the Lutheran church pretty much confined to a specific area in Brazil?
SHEDD: Yes, yes definitely. South Brazil. The two states: Parana and...well, three states: Santa Caterina, Rio Grande do Sul. Might be in any of them. I'd be guessing. This would be the [pauses]...the full numbers without saying a word about how...what they know about Lutheranism or Christianity at all. But, it would be just like the Catholic community. In fact, it would be very similar in terms of their relationship to Christianity. They're just Lutheran because they've...born in Lutheran families.
WILSON: Now, you mentioned that the Southern Baptists were the first Baptist group in Brazil. When did the Conservative Baptists get moving in...in Brazil?
SHEDD: Oh, about the end of the 40s. They were invited in to take over a work in the Piaui-Maranhao region, two states far to the north and a very poverty stricken area of Brazil. Poverty-stricken northeast.
WILSON: Invited by whom?
SHEDD: Well, they were invited by a man called Macedo, Jonas Macedo, who had had a amazingly fruitful ministry of starting churches, but he couldn't keep them going or manned. So he invited the Conservatives in to help him handle this region. At that time the Southern Baptists didn't have people to put in there and so it was a... an opportunity to begin. These were interior places, very remote.
WILSON: And how interior is interior? How many miles from the coast?
SHEDD: Oh, it would be hundreds of miles in the interior. Seven hundred miles [unclear]. Extremely poverty-stricken. You can hardly believe how [pauses, laughs]...how sad that part of the country is. It's improved a lot in the last twenty, twenty-five years. But back in those days, remote indeed.
WILSON: Have you been there?
SHEDD: I've been there two or three times.
WILSON: And what kind of successes did Conservative Baptist Mission have?
SHEDD: Well, it's...it's a mixed story. [clears throat] The...the mission decided...the missionaries decided they wanted a seminary so that they would [clears throat] be able to develop training potential so they started Bible school, then moved on to a seminary in Floriano [in the state of Piaui]. And this work never went very well, because [clears throat] for one thing you didn't have young men who had the intellectual background to...to study and move into the pastorate. You almost had to take them and train them all the way through the program, and as soon as they finished, they usually set their sights on somewhere else. It was a place to get away from rather to remain in. So that seminary's moved to Brasilia now, and is completely a different story. In fact, I imagine they will get in the end more workers out of the seminary in Brasilia than they did when the seminary was right in Floriano for many years.
WILSON: How far is Brasilia from...?
SHEDD: Brasilia from...from Piaui-Maranhao would be seven or eight hundred miles, I'd say, south, maybe a thousand. It's...it's a long way.
WILSON: What...what is the native population? What's the...the ethnicity of the people? Are they Indians?
SHEDD: No. no.
WILSON: Or are they Portuguese?
SHEDD: Yes, Portuguese descent. Yes.
WILSON: What are they doing in there?
SHEDD: They're farming and very little industry. But farming is the main thing, and very simple sort of ground-scratching type of farming. And because of the droughts...this is what has caused so much misery for the people are the regular droughts, and we're in a drought now. And when it does rain it will pour and wash everything away, and they...they're just on the brink of starvation so much of the time. There's been a great deal of...of money sent by the government up to the northeast through the SUDENE [Superintendency for Development of the Northeast, federal agency established in 1959], it's a support system that's been set up in an attempt to give tax breaks to companies that would start a sister production up there. Anything to...to...to get an economy going up there. But it's never been very successful. It's been mostly a money-losing project.
WILSON: Now, you folks went to Brazil in '62?
SHEDD: That's right.
WILSON: Do you remember what your first reactions were to Brazil? You went straight to Sao Paulo, did you, or...?
SHEDD: Yes, we went to Campinas first for a few days, but then finally found a house in Sao Paulo. And [pauses] our first impressions were that it was an extremely bustling place. Sao Paulo was a city that was three times...four times as large as Lisbon [clears throat]. Much dirtier, much less...much more casual, Brazilians, not that meticulous about anything. You had to watch your step in terms of agreements on anything. You know, you just felt that you were going to be taken for a ride there. We....
WILSON: Because, in fact, you were?
SHEDD: [laughs] Many times. You...you learned to be cautious about your contracts to make sure you don't pay somebody before his work was done, that kind of thing. You know, these...these impressions were very strong at first. Now we don't think too much about it. It's just it's getting used to a culture, learning how to do it the way the people do it themselves.
WILSON: Did you go to Brazil partially because you already knew Portuguese?
SHEDD: I think I mentioned earlier that the main reason they took us to Brazil was to...to develop our publishing program for a...a higher level of readership: pastors and theological students and university students. We had close contact with Inter-Varsity, who was also involved in our going there. And this was the main reason we want. It wasn't...that I can think of any other reason fundamentally than to carry on this publishing program. And for the first two years that we were in Brazil this...this was our full time responsibility was putting out books.
WILSON: What kind of books did you...translations of...?
SHEDD: Yes, translations by and large. We did very little of the [pauses] original Brazilian writing. We did a couple, but very little because [pauses] our Brazilian brothers don't tend to write much. They're...in fact back in the early '60s there wasn't much of a readership either, when you considered how many Evangelical Christians [were] out there. You...sales were very slow in those early years. This has changed as the population has...has taken a great deal more interest in education and schools. And it's been a tremendous change in the last twenty years. It's very noticeable.
WILSON: You were...you were saying that the readership wasn't great, referring specifically to the Evangelical Christians. Has the mission of the...what? publishing house...is that a...
WILSON: ...good word for it? Has it been mainly nurturing or evangelization or both or what?
SHEDD: Edicoes Vida Nova [New Life Editions] has...has been concerned ever since it was founded in Portugal to...to produce theological works and commentaries and Bible study books and so forth, which I'd consider mainly nurturing, although we did branch out just a little into the area of evangelism because of our contact with Inter-Varsity. At first we were seeking to reach the non-Christian students, so we did put out books like Stott's Basic Christianity and [pauses] other works similar to that. But that wasn't our main concern and it isn't today. It's still to maintain textbooks and commentaries and theological study books.
WILSON: The [pauses]...the mission there, the Conservative Baptist's entire thrust does include evangelism, does it not?
SHEDD: Oh, yes. It would be church planting. That would be its main concern. Although, we have seemingly been pushed into giving a priority to training and the reason is...is very easy to...to explain. The church in Brazil tends to be an evangelizing church, but very weak in terms of ministering to the people evangelized. The typical service will be very strong in evangelism. Practically every Sunday night in any Baptist church you will hear an evangelistic message. And the other side to this will be the Sunday school lesson. Some churches don't even have a morning service, though that is becoming more frequent to have a morning service, a morning worship service. But the tendency is with all the emphasis on evangelism is to preach the gospel over and over and over and over again, even to Christians, when there is no non-Christian in the congregation that you know of, which I feel has a deadening effect on the growth and ethical lives and so forth because they simply don't know what the Bible teaches. Now, the Sunday school is supposed to change that, but it's often very weak in...in educational capacity to really change peoples' thinking and actions. So we're working on that, too. We're very concerned about this. We've put out a...Larry Richards' Christian education book. We're putting out a study book for...on the book of Matthew. It's programmed, which will help...we're hoping to get this into our Sunday schools, especially your key people in the Sunday school will take it. And this one goes for three years. That's quite a long program.
WILSON: Are you talking about an adult program?
SHEDD: This is definitely an adult training program, which...you would train them for evangelism, yes, but it would also train them in all that you would find in the...in the Gospel of Matthew as well as the life of Christ that's related to Christian living and...and Bible study method and devotional life and worship and all that's involved in the fuller Christian life rather than the...the strong emphasis that evangelism's had. And I'm not against that by any means. I'm simply saying I think it needs to be balanced.
WILSON: Well, the...you said that there's a definite problem with the church, that the sermon being strictly an evangelistic message when...when indeed there's a question where there needs to be any evangelization done, you said it [?]. Is that partially due to that the pastors are not very well versed in theology, in the deeper points of theology?
SHEDD: Yes, I would say so. That...that tends to be the case. It goes back to the training and to the ideals and all that they have grown up under [pauses]...the traditional Baptist church or even Presbyterian church. And our concern in the seminary in Sao Paulo, Faculdad Teologica Batista is to change this by emphasizing, at least in our Bible Department, in our Homiletics Department...to emphasize exposition, to really go through books [of the Bible], entire books and teach what these books are teaching, which would be theology and ethics, and the Christian life and worship rather than only evangelism. That, of course, comes in, too, but as you well know, the New Testament isn't only evangelism.
WILSON: Do you find that the people receive this kind of instruction well? Are they hungry for it or do they see it unnecessary or what?
SHEDD: [laughs] I think that it's well-received where it's well done. Some of the churches that are...are pastored by men that we have had the...the closest contact with and who have really accepted this are doing very well. Somebody...there's no problem receiving it, whereas.... Where the problem lies is that most of our Baptist pastors, maybe many Presbyterian pastors don't see any great need for it. In other words they're rather happy with the status quo. They don't feel like there's much need for change. Their churches are in many cases are doing okay. They're not really thriving, yet I wouldn't say that they're doing all right. The pioneering that churches are doing in Brazil, which is a very...to me a very positive factor is that practically all of the churches of any size are starting one or two or three other churches and that keeps them excited about what is happening and so forth. So while we're very favorable to that side of it, I still feel this [pauses] a great need for learning how to expound the Scriptures, to...to do the adequate study and preparation. Otherwise the church becomes rather hollow in its whole life.
WILSON: Have to move from milk to meat sooner or later.
SHEDD: That's the way I feel, and some men do, but it's not very many. It's not any great proportion of the Evangelical community that feels this way at all.
WILSON: You mean that agrees with you?
SHEDD: Yeah, but which...that would really feel this. For instance, this would be an example of this. We have...I have been giving [pauses] a series of studies for two years now for pastors, but anybody can come free of charge, in which we study for two hours a paragraph of Scripture, study it from every angle we can think of: how to outline it, how to understand the terminology, the links, the grammatical, the illustrations, the rhetorical, all that's involved in the study of a paragraph. And then we go on to the next paragraph and so forth. So we go through a whole book in a period of time. But you don't find a mass of people saying, "Well, we really want...that's what we've been looking for." Ten, fifteen would be about as many which would come out to this course. It means they have to take off work or something like that or...or travel a great distance. Some people do. Some come for hours just to come to that one study, but it's not a large group when you consider there're hundreds of...hundreds of pastors in a city like Sao Paulo. The thing could be much larger.
WILSON: Hundreds of pastors in the city of Sao Paulo?
SHEDD: Oh, yes.
WILSON: How big is Sao Paulo?
SHEDD: Well, about twelve million people. So we have...Baptist churches alone, there are nearly between two hundred and fifty and three hundred churches. Some large, some small, of course, but they'd be close to three hundred churches by now.
WILSON: Does your outreach go beyond the Baptist community?
SHEDD: Yes, we are not confined to the Baptists at all.
WILSON: Do you seek the other market or does it just happen?
SHEDD: No, they just...they passed the word around. They...they don't come on to it. But, there [pauses]...there isn't a great deal of interest in that kind of thing. The ones who are involved are very interested, very interested, willing to give up almost anything to be there, but the...but the others are not. So that's what I am saying. There's a...there's a divided feeling about it.
WILSON: How do you distribute [pauses] books? Through bookstores? Through...?
SHEDD: We go through major distributors. Bethany [publishing house], from this country, has got a big operation down in Brazil both printing and distribution. So they distribute for us. They are in contact with all of the stores. We distribute through Millennium, which is another distributor. And we [pauses] ship directly to stores, but we don't have our own store. We just ship directly. And also we have direct mail to individuals through promotions. So we have [?] the three methods.
WILSON: Last week you were telling me after we turned off the tape recorder a little bit about some of the...the books that you have been writing for [pauses]...for eventual distribution. Tell me a little about those.
SHEDD: Well, I mentioned the Bible. The annotated Bible is our...our major work and by far our largest seller. It's the annotated Bible, that is it has thirty to forty...forty-five lines [bumps microphone] of notes for each page of the Bible to help the reader understand its content, to give him some idea of its structure, homilitical outlines. We try to get one on a page average. It has the topical references in the margins, which will have a call number to the back where...collects and outlines what the Bible teaches on that particular topic. There are over four thousand topics. So that's been our major production as far as that particular area is concerned with. We're also working on commentaries. We've put out the New Bible Commentary, which is an Inter-Varsity work. Now, we're doing individual commentaries, whichever we wish to put out of a not-too-high an intellectual level, not too much of the original languages, but based on the original languages. Exegetical commentaries.
WILSON: Now the New Bible Commentary is a translation is it not?
SHEDD: These are all translations. We haven't had anyone of Brazil write, now. Not the Bible. The Bible was produced in...
SHEDD: ...Brazil. But these more extensive works on each book of the Bible, for instance, that we're putting out now, the Cultura Biblica series...
WILSON: Which translates...?
SHEDD: Yes, commentaries from English or any other language with [unclear].
WILSON: What does...how does the title translate? [laughs]
SHEDD: Oh. Biblical Culture Series.
WILSON: Thank you [laughs].
SHEDD: That's right. We're putting out Justo [Luis] Gonzalez, who's a Cuban writer, history of the church and illustrated history of the church - ten volumes, putting that out. We have Haley's Handbook, which is one of our books. The New Bible Dictionary. We're putting out a theological dictionary, Colin Brown's theological dictionary [New International Dictionary of Net Testament Theology]. One volume of that is now in print, and we're getting the second volume ready, coming up with four volumes.
WILSON: How do you choose what books you want to see in Portuguese?
SHEDD: Well, we have...we have a list that we're working one and that is that every area of [bumps microphone] discipline that the pastor and theological student needs will be in print. We want something church history, want something in ethics, we want something in theology, want something in Old Testament. For instance, we put out Dr. [Walter] Kaiser's Towards an Old Testament Theology. We want an Old Testament introduction, want a New Testament survey and so forth, like Dr. [Merrill] Tenney's book was our staple for a long time. Now we have Gundrie's book out. And that's our idea is to have a full circle of books that the seminary student would need. And since no one else is really trying to do this, we...we find it fairly simple to...to just pick whatever book seems to be the best for our level and then adapt it in some cases or just straight translation.
WILSON: What would adapted entail?
SHEDD: Well, adapting would be changing anything or leaving something out. For instance, Dr. Cairns' book on church history, which is about to hit the press now, we're adapting that now by adding three or four chapters on Latin American church History, which he, of course, knows, but he hasn't written it [laughs].
SHEDD: It didn't...didn't concern him. And what relationship the churches down there have to Europe and the United States and the growth of the church and also the growth of...of Catholicism in Latin America and the liberation theology movement. All of this will then come out in...in these extra chapters, which he's permitted us to add to his book, Christianity Through the Centuries.
WILSON: Is liberation of theology a...a big deal in Latin America?
SHEDD: Well, I guess you would say in the intellectual community it is. I don't think it's reached too much down to the popular level. Although we couldn't help but be somewhat alarmed to find these apostilas. Apostila is a something like our Sunday school books, which are being used in the Catholic church in Brazil and, I guess, in the rest of Latin America, I really don't know, which have a very strong influence, I guess, to whoever is studying them in a leftist direction. I mean that's where they're directed, very strongly in the direction. Which is what liberation theology is doing. It's try...it's an attempt to...to concien...concientizar. Do you know what that word means?
SHEDD: Give people a conscience of their rights. And so they're being oppressed and so now you...you need to rise up and overthrow the oppressor, which is a good Marxist thought, you know.
WILSON: [sound of passing train] Where does the church fit into that?
SHEDD: Well, the church is the ones that's doing it.
WILSON: Well, I mean, but where does the church fit into the theology? What's the...what do they see as the role of the church in all that?
SHEDD: Well, the church is to bring about justice. It's God's instrument of bringing justice and liberation. So that liberation's thought that the church is the instrument God uses. It's the elite that makes people aware of...of how badly they are being treated and to get a better sh...excuse me, a better share of the world's goods that God [unclear] has made us.
WILSON: Does the salvation of souls kind of fall by the wayside in all that or...?
SHEDD: Well, if you know Catholicism, it's never been real concerned about salvation of souls because they're already saved. Remember that the Catholic doctrine is that when you're born you're baptized and since ninety per...
WILSON: I'd say that [?].
SHEDD: ...eighty-five percent of all Brazilians and Latin Americans are already baptized into the church, what you're doing is bringing the church to carry out it mission to its own people, to its own membership. So you don't have that idea of evangelization. Now, they will use that language if you read the Puebla document of Latin American bishops of '78. Their meeting in Puebla, they speak of evangelization. But what they mean by that is that people are not aware of what they already have. So, you have to explain it to them. See, they've been baptized. They're really saved but they're not aware of it.
WILSON: Do you make many converts from the Catholic community? Or does that...outside converts, do they come mainly from Catholicism or...?
SHEDD: Well, they would almost have to, because you don't have anyone else to convert. [laughs] Unless you were converting across denominational lines. There are very few atheists in Brazil. There would be some, especially in the higher echelons, your educated elite would be French liberal thinkers might be atheistic. But the vast majority of the...of the population at large is Catholic and therefore has a vague idea of God and of the Virgin and so forth. But it...it's very little depth in the Catholic thinking. And this...whatever depth that they did have is getting less because of the...the great vacuum created by the low number of priests. There are less priests, for instance, in Brazil than there are pastors, so that even though there are many fewer Catholics....
WILSON: No Protestants.
SHEDD: Yeah. See, oh yeah, fewer Protestants. You're right. Protestants, the [pauses]...the communit...Protestant community has much more contact with these leaders than does the Catholic community. So what happens is that people come simply disinterested and sort of fall by the wayside. Nobody is paying any attention. They don't have any chance of contact other than through weddings and baptisms and dying and that's about it. Even dying, it can be hard to get a priest to [pauses] bury you. It's...it's...it's just amazing that one priest for I don't know how many thousands upon thousands of people. So, it's your...you're losing out. Now, what's happening in this country undoubtedly is happening there, too, and that is that you have many more lay people getting involved with...in this vacuum of...of leadership. They have their cursillos...is...is maybe the most dynamic thing Catholicism is doing in Latin America. Cursillos are...are ways of involving Catholic laymen in the church and learning what the teaching of the church is and they have retreats and they have studies in the churches and so forth. But it's still reaching only a very small portion of the vast population that is Catholic in name.
WILSON: Does...does the Conservative Baptist Mission make any direct attempts at the Catholic community in terms of evangelization? I guess they would if they make any attempts at all, but....
SHEDD: Yes. Whenever you're planting a church that's what you're doing. That's what you're doing, yes.
WILSON: Do they encounter any opposition...
SHEDD: Very little.
WILSON: ...from the Catholic....
SHEDD: Catholicism is [pauses]...is not that concerned to fight the Protestant community any more, except they have verbal attacks, too [laughs]. With their sectarianism....
WILSON: Does it come from the bishop or archbishop or wherever?
SHEDD: It could come anywhere. It would...it would be much more...to use a comparison in my estimation, it would be similar to the way Evangelicals would think of the Jehovah's Witness today. You know, here's a group that's growing, let's say they're growing in America, or Mormons. We don't agree with them, but we don't fight them either. I mean, they're just there. And you...you would speak against them. They're heretics and they're not...they're not really Christian in the full sense of the word and so forth, like we are, because we are the real church and we have the real ministry and so forth. So, that would be more or less the...the outlook, I think, most Catholics would have about...about the creentes. Creentes is the word they use for Christians down there that are Evangelical, which means believers. That's their name. And they have a...a low opinion of them. Catholics do not think highly of them. Except in one sense that you'll find many times if you are looking for an employee or a maid or something like that. To be a creente would be a favorable comment on them because they would be more trustworthy. Which is a big concern.
WILSON: No joke.
SHEDD: Yeah, they would be less likely to steal. Now, I'm not saying that they wouldn't steal. Some would. But they'd be less likely to...
WILSON: Less likely to....
SHEDD: ...than your Catholic population. And so you could count on them.
WILSON: Huh! And yet they're still [pauses]...in the face of the recognition that there is some value to it, there's still a great deal of distrust?
SHEDD: Well, not so much distrust. It's that they are wrong, you see. They're...they're wrong. They're....
SHEDD: They're unenlightened. They're poor. It's...they're the lower classes. It is the same kind of feeling of disdain that you have for the lower classes or that you would have in this country for blacks. You know, the people across the tracks.
WILSON: Is the Evangelical community in Brazil largely lower class?
SHEDD: Well, it was. But you see what happens. I'm sure you're aware of this, that wherever Evangelicals begin to grow in numbers they also start climbing the social ladder. So this is a change that's occurring. A very noticeable change. So now you have leaders in the governments, state, city government and, of course, in the national government who are outstanding Evangelicals. So this tends to...to diminish this kind of feeling of disdain, especially when it's known. We even had a Lutheran president for a while. That sort of impressed a lot of Catholics. First time and only time that that's ever occurred.
WILSON: How long was he in office?
SHEDD: He was there for the full six year...six year stint and [pauses]. Geiseld, a German name, the previous president to the one's who's there now.
WILSON: Now, was he, what the first president under the military government or...?
SHEDD: [coughs] No. Not by any means the first. He would have been, I guess, the third. We had Mettici and then before that it was Costello Branco, Mettici, and then Geiseld, and now the present since the revolution.
WILSON: What do you...do you see this heading any direction in terms of...of what the Evangelical community might be able to do to turn Brazil? That's kind of a silly thing to say. I...I don't know what Brazil needs to be turned around from. But can you see the Evangelical community in the future [pauses] directing Brazil in any particular course as they become more powerful?
SHEDD: No doubt. No doubt that this will happen. I personally believe that the United States, Northern Europe has [pauses]...is to be explained to a large extent because of the Evangelical influence, the Evangelical tradition of work and responsibility and trustworthiness and not throwing your money away on wine, women...
WILSON: And song. [laughs]
SHEDD: And song [Wilson laughs] and...and a corruption which is so...so endemic. I think that all of this augers well for the country if it continues...if the Evangelical community continues to grow.
WILSON: Do you think it will?
SHEDD: It's slowing down. There's no doubt about it. It's not the fast growth that it was just ten years ago.
WILSON: To what do you attribute that?
SHEDD: Probably to this upward swing. You tendency is...all that we can discover is that your lowest classes are much freer in inviting other people to become one with them and put a lot more pressure on their relatives than they do as soon as they become middle class. And so that as they begin to move upward in this trend, it's...it's sad to see this that the gospel is for the poor and they're the ones who by far in the total population feel the need for it. So as soon as they move up higher, the children of even people who may have been very interested in the gospel and very much involved in it, as Christians their children may not feel that much at all. It's...it's becomes traditional and you go through this whole circle again.
WILSON: Is that mainly a default on the part of the parents?
SHEDD: Parents and again the weakness of the church. This vacuum of...of a church not really involved with the people, which I think is...is the explanation for Europe today. I think that even if you look at even a country like England. I studied over there. I didn't have time to stop and think what...what happened to the church in Britain which was so vital and involved in missionary outreach and so forth just thirty years ago, but is no longer that much interested in it today. It's partly the liberal influence, the lack of good solid seminaries. But it's not just that. I think it's because the church did not really become involved in the life of the people as it has in this country to a much greater extent. I'm...I personally feel it's much more involved here than it is in Britain. So you have a much higher percentage of people attending church and involved and contributing and so forth. The state church, which is European Anglican for instance in England, tends to make people less involved and less interested as over against your American Free churches. But you see the influence down there, that as people become wealthier and make their way in life, they go to the university and maybe end up getting involved in the whole materialistic rat race, become less involved. This is not true of everybody by any means, but it's a percentage that you see. If you look at statistics, the...the growth is...is dropping. It's hard to say just how this is going to work out because I'm really speaking on statistics that have been recently collected on Sao Paulo itself, but the percentage of the population of Sao Paulo is now...the evangelical population is lower than it was in 1970. And the reason [pauses], you know, is that the population of people coming in, the influx, has been so much more rapid than has evangelization. Does not necessarily mean that this is rur...nationwide. You might find that in other parts, the...where population hasn't been growing like this, the Evangelical population has been growing faster. It would be hard to say. I don't know. I need the whole picture. [sound of passing train]
SHEDD: Because that was the prediction that was made. By 1980 Brazil would be that much higher or much closer to the percentage mark of all Brazilians that would be Christians than it was back in the '60s. This was a work done...in fact the first major work done in this area of predicting on the basis of trends and all, very carefully, statistically oriented put out by MARC [Mission Advanced Research & Communication] out in California, and....
WILSON: But it just didn't pan out eh?
SHEDD: Well, not in Sao Paulo, you see. What I'm saying...I'm only basing my comments only on...on recent...I just got this survey of Sao Paulo, that although they...the Christian community is much larger, something like six hundred thousand people in the city of Sao Paulo, the percentage is lower because the population has grown from what? four million to twelve. So you have three hundred percent increase population but maybe only fifty percent increase or sixty percent increase in the Christian community. I can't remember what they are, but it has diminished.
WILSON: Before we get too far from discussing your...your books, the Bible that you have done, this is a copy of the Bible sitting right...
WILSON: ...here, isn't it?
WILSON: Now, did you do all of those annotations yourself?
WILSON: What [pauses]...was it a committee or...?
SHEDD: We picked...we picked Brazilians and missionaries that we thought would be able to help us with this and indeed we did get a lot of help in...in writing these notes. It fell to myself and Gordon Chown, who is a Cambridge trained theologian and expert in both Hebrew and Greek, to do the editorial work of reading these notes and culling them and rewriting something for clarity or leaving some out and putting something else in its place. So we went...and that was a very tedious and long process, of course, to do all that.
WILSON: Sure. How long did it take from...from the that time you started working on it to the finished Bible?
SHEDD: We started in 1963 and finished in '77, but the reason for that long delay of almost fourteen years, thirteen years was the fact that the paper, which had been donated by the mission, was [pauses]...was taken over by the government when it came...landed there because of lack of some document. And this really put us back because we weren't then able financially to cover the cost of getting it out. So we took the extra time to...to do a great deal more work on those notes. They had been done roughly by '67, when this problem arose, and we kept thinking we could get that paper. The paper was put into kind of an escrow situation, into storage, and we tried to get it out by one thing or another and it finally was sold on auction. But we didn't get the use of it, so we had to build up our...our funds to be able to buy it, which at the time, you may know or you may not know, paper went up three hundred percent on the world market in dollars, so that put us back a great deal further yet [laughs]. So it took a long time to get it out.
WILSON: How much paper are we talking about?
SHEDD: Well, when we first...the paper that was lost cost something like eight thousand dollars. What we had to buy, then, was...cost more than thirty thousand dollars for the first edition of ten thousand copies, and now it's costing maybe...to print it will run sixty to seventy or even a hundred thousand dollars now in Brazil for one edition.
WILSON: Of ten thousand copies?
SHEDD: Of ten thousand copies. So it's running up close to ten dollars a Bible just to get it into print.
WILSON: Can Brazilians afford to buy that?
SHEDD: I don't know if they can or not, but they do buy it [laughs]. It might cost them a month's wages to buy it [laughs], but they buy them. Sales tend to run close to a thousand a month. That would be the normal and the...the price runs close to thirty dollars per Bible, twenty-five to thirty depending on the exchange rate, because, of course, what gets cheaper and more expensive because you have a hundred percent inflation rate while your exchange rates are changing all the time. But you don't change your prices all the time, so that the price is going up and down in dollars, while it doesn't affect them down there that way.
WILSON: Right. The paper that got confiscated, now why did it get held up?
SHEDD: Well, we were given to believe that we could import it ourselves, which you should be able to do legally. But we were also given to believe that we would get a license for it because there's no paper in Brazil exactly like what we had. But they have this law that if it's anything similar, you don't get a license to import anything. And although Bibles come in free, you can print the Bible overseas, on that very paper, which is what we did finally in '77 was to print it in this country and ship it in, if you shipped in the paper it was taken over and as contraband with a hundred percent fine slapped on it immediately. Well, since we figured we were doing the country a favor, they...we thought that we'd...we'd have it turned over to us, the paper given to us anyway and we had contacts with high people, in fact, the man next to the president. And we were just getting ready to talk to the president when it was finally sold from out from under us at an auction. It was auctioned out, so we lost it anyway. But we were hoping to get through a Christian who knew the president (that was the previous president) who was very much interested in the gospel and the Bible and so forth and had regular meetings....
WILSON: The Germans?
SHEDD: Yeah, the German Lutheran to have him just sign it. See everyone was afraid to do this because one of the areas of corruption that they are most afraid of is customs 'cause it's so easy to make money under the table, large sums. Of course, when you're talking about thirty, forty thousand dollars worth of paper, you're...
SHEDD: ...talking about a large sum. And, of course, whenever you see something like that size you figure somebody has gotten, you know, three, four, maybe five thousand dollars under the table. So the only one who'd get away with it was the president we discovered. And just about the time [laughs] we were going to...hoped he would it, 'cause there was no reason why he shouldn't sign it then, [door opens or closes] it was sold and we took that as God's will for us to work on...just go ahead on our own, redo the whole thing, recollect the money, and so forth.
WILSON: Do you...did you at the time feel that there was any specific vendetta against the mission itself involved in that or it was just...?
SHEDD: Not at all.
WILSON: ...just one of those things that just happens?
SHEDD: Yeah. We didn't get favorable treatment obviously, but I don't think it had anything to do with the fact that it was an Evangelical work. I don't think that any Catholic particularly was against it. It was just a...got caught in the bureaucracy is what happened. And then instead of being accepted, it was turned down and the paper had already been shipped. So as soon as it got on that ship we'd lost it, because you can't turn the ship around or stop it from dropping it on the...on the deck there in Santos, where the paper was landed. As soon as it hit the deck it was contraband, and.... Not that we were trying to do anything special with it. I mean, it's....
WILSON: You couldn't even make it stay on the ship?
SHEDD: Couldn't even keep it on the ship.
WILSON: [laughs] I am glad to know these little things.
SHEDD: Yeah. Well, we learned. We've imported paper since, but through a...a regular import which costs maybe twenty percent more, but we were just trying to save a few thousand and we lost. But you learn.
WILSON: [laughs] The...have you written...? You have, haven't you? Well, that's what you are working on now is just texts in Portuguese. What are the works...
WILSON: ...that you're working on now?
SHEDD: ...my first small book besides working on the Bible, which was a major thing, (in fact I wasn't even interested in trying to write anything else until we got that out), was an exposition of Ephesians. And then for the International Youth Conference in '79, they asked me to write the exposition of Colossians, which I spoke on at that conference, the daily Bible studies. And now I'm working on a small book on eschatology, which is more or less...I mean, my part is more or less done except the editing now that it's typed up. [I am] working on an exposition of Philippians, but this is again this idea to encourage pastors and students who are going into the pastorate and our seminaries to see what can be done with the text instead of the kind of preaching that's being done, [unclear]. So I'm very interested in the homiletical out...out...outlook of...of these books. Then I'm hoping to work on church discipline, which is a major area of...of difficulty in our Evangelical community, because I think that the seminaries and the practice, the traditional practice of treating Christians who fall in one way or another or who create some kind of an animosity or tension with the pastor are just thrown out of the church like that. This is a wrong approach entirely to discipline.
WILSON: Thrown out in what regard?
SHEDD: Oh, excommunicated.
SHEDD: Of course, then they go to some other church. But some churches are losing members almost as fast as they are taking them in. So, I'd like to write something on this to try to give them a biblical...more biblical outlook on it.
WILSON: Losing members because they're kicking them out...
WILSON: ...or losing members because all...all...or is it also because the people who sympathize with those that are kicked out go with them?
SHEDD: No, not necessarily. That could happen, too, because any reason for dismissing a person from membership or "giving him his letter" as they say, is...is valid because the pastor, of course, is pretty much the one who runs the church and [clears throat]....
WILSON: But when you get a letter you're not exactly [pauses] being kicked out, are you? I mean....
SHEDD: That's right.
WILSON: In this...in the context in which I know, the idea of a church letter, it means you're in good standing with the church.
SHEDD: Yeah. Well, that depends. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they don't, by they get thrown out anyway. [laughs] You're put out of the church fellowship that you were before, in before. So...so it could be either one. You're right.
WILSON: What kind of...of sins are people being excommunicated for?
SHEDD: Well, you have the traditional sexual sins would be, I mean, right off. You didn't have any [pauses]...any debate on the subject. But a lot more than that is cause for dismissal in some churches. They...mainly it would be, I guess, outside of those kinds of sins...would be the [pauses]...the failure to get along with the pastor. I mean, just maybe criticizing the pastor or something, and the word got to him, and he..."If you don't like it here, you can leave," so....
WILSON: Does...does the pastor have to work through a...a church council of some sort, or is he pretty much...?
SHEDD: Well, he would...he'd bring it up to the board, but...but pretty much what he says goes. I mean, it would be difficult for anyone to stand up against him unless he's planning to leave. [laughs] And that, too, would mean he would be dismissed. So, you...you...you have a rather strongly dictatorial approach to the pastor, at least in the Baptist churches and certainly in the Pentecostal churches. The...the head man is the head man. He runs the thing. And this goes back in your...your way of thinking [coughs] for centuries. I mean, you're not going to change that overnight.
WILSON: What? Goes back in Brazilian thinking?
SHEDD: Yes, it goes back through Portugal...
WILSON: And Portuguese thinking.
SHEDD: ...back to the monarchy and so forth and the colonels, the coronels that ran the country back in the colonial period and now in the strong government approach that you have now, that the only way to keep anything united is to have a single individual who runs things. Otherwise, if everybody has that same power you're...you don't have the democ...democratic...although it is a democratic government in the churches. They do vote on things. Just like elections are democratic in a way, but they aren't really democratic because you don't dare to oppose the power.
WILSON: Is...would that be one reason why the rate of growth is slow?
SHEDD: I'm sure that the large number of dismissals in any given church is certainly a reason for growing you...slowing your growth rate down.
WILSON: But, well, is the main dismissaling...dismissaling...is the m...is the dismissal process...does it tend to have an effect of just shuffling membership back and forth...
SHEDD: It can.
WILSON: ...or are some of those people lost?
SHEDD: Many of those people are lost to the church simply because, "Well," you know, "if that's what they think, why should I go anyway?" Depends just how much fear of God there is. I mean, we kept finding when I was working with the new church program, starting a new church, kept finding these people. "Oh, I used to be a Christian. I'm not anymore."
WILSON: "I used to be a Christian."
SHEDD: They used that phrase, yeah.
WILSON: They really did, eh? What did want to ask you? Yeah. Can you tell me any specific case...case studies or just individual cases that you can recall of the church discipline process: What had happened? What the crime was? What the feelings were left over from the end result, etcetera? Just chronicle the whole thing from start to finish. Can you...
SHEDD: Well, since...
WILSON: ...think of any of these?
SHEDD: ...I wasn't involved in any of these.... See, I've always been in pastoring our own church, I haven't really watched this process from the inside. What I do have [pauses]...I mean, what I was involved in was speaking on a subject. And the way I was introduced was that the statistics are showing in our Baptist work in Brazil that [bumps microphone] some churches are baptizing thirty, fifty people, but they're also dismissing thirty or forty for all kinds of reasons [bumps table]. And I don't know of any study that's giving exactly what these reasons are. But from, as I say, running into these people...
WILSON: Yeah, have any of them told you their story?
SHEDD: ...it's because of some offence, yeah, something has happened that's offended them. And it's that feeling: "If that's Christianity, I don't want to have anything to do with it." Over and over again, that's...that's the feeling that you get.
WILSON: What has offended them about it?
SHEDD: It can be anything. Many times it's a financial problem. You know, "I lent this guy some money. He's a Christian. He's a good Christian. He may be...even be a deacon. He didn't pay me back. Well, he didn't keep his word," or something like this. So he left. And since there are always two sides to the story, he may have been thrown out as well for something he didn't do, his part. You know, it's...sometimes he was working in a contractual basis and he didn't fulfill his side, but he thought that he did. And so this goes on and on. And [pauses] it's...it's serious.
WILSON: How widespread are the...well, you mentioned sexual sins? How...how common of an occurrence is that among the Evangelical community in...in Brazil, in Sao Paulo?
SHEDD: Probably similar to what it is on this country now. Not what it was. It seems to me that this is on the increase here. I...I would [pauses] not even dare to think how frequent it is. You know, it's...it's often mentioned. Are there more than one, two, three people in any given church involved? I don't know. It's hard to say.
WILSON: A greater percentage in Sao Paulo than in a non-urban setting?
SHEDD: I don't know. I have no idea. It's just.... I would guess so, but I don't know.
WILSON: But the spirit of forgiveness isn't burning very brightly, eh?
SHEDD: It's difficult. It's very difficult.
WILSON: So what do you [pauses] hope to do with the book on discipline?
SHEDD: Well, I would like to try [pauses]...try to point out the seriousness of dismissing somebody from the church. I don't think many people even think of it as serious at all. I think they think it's just the simplest thing as this: "If he's not an asset to us, he's not giving anyway, let's get rid of him, because he's...he's a thorn in my flesh." You know, that kind of thing. And not thinking of it at all as a member of the family or a we're in as a son-father relationship. So that the prodigal in these stories that you have in parables and so forth simply don't fit into their picture at all of what discipline is all about, Or the lost sheep or any of those. And what I'd like to do is to take some of these passages and show them that that's...that's the way that God looks at it, that anybody that was at one time a Christian is in this category now until he's lost definitively, which could...could happen and there is such a thing as definitive loss. But he is to be treated as a member of a family. Yo wouldn't think of dismissing your own son this way that you go about without exhausting every single possibility, and holding him and encouraging him, so. There are other aspects to the church discipline question that I...I'd like to get into, of course, but basically that's it, that they don't take it very seriously. I fact, I heard at one church that dismissed all the members and the pastor kept the church [both laugh]. But...which would be another way of doing [pauses] this. Of course, then he and his family were the owners. You could come off with maybe a valuable piece of property doing something like this. But that would not be common. In fact, I've only heard of one case as that.
WILSON: And the congregation stood for it? I mean, they accepted it?
SHEDD: Well, there was...there was no way they could handle it, because, you know, this happened slowly. They just get rid of more and more and more and more people and not...no one's coming in. Your congregation is dropping down to, you know, pretty soon there's no way that they could...they could oppose because the family of the pastor might be eight, six, seven, eight people. There'd....
WILSON: And outvote them, huh?
SHEDD: Outvote them. [both laugh] Well, it's democratic. [Wilson laughs]
WILSON: Oh, dear. You mentioned last week, (I think you did), the book that you were perhaps working on eschatology?
WILSON: Would you tell me a little bit about that?
SHEDD: Well, my...my interests in this was an invitation that I received to speak to the pastors of the state of Sao Paulo on eschatology because in our traditional Southern Baptist seminary training and so forth, amillennialism is the...is the approach and books like [the ones by] Hal Lindsey have come on the market with a tremendous impact in Brazil giving a very strong dispensational point of view, although there are not many dispensational Christians in Brazil, but they read this as, you know, this is the truth, this is what the Bible teaches. So, I am seeking to bring into the picture a mediating position between these two rather than amillennialism or the [pauses] (I don't know what you's call that) wild dispensationalism. [both laugh] My friend Rene Padilla calls it Christian fiction approach. To come from somewhere in between less fictional and less...less Southern Baptist amillennialism. So, it's just a study of...of what I consider the New Testament approach. So it's just New Testament eschatology. [It] would be much more along the line of George Ladd and Robert Mounce and some of these, I think it's called classical pre-millennialism [laughs], something like that.
WILSON: I've heard the expression used. Pre-millennialism is a [pauses]...what's the word? is a reaction to post-millenialism and all of its horrors.
SHEDD: Right, right. Yeah, I go into some of these things. The [pauses]...trying to show also the unity of the eschatological vision of the New Testament, going right through the Gospels and the Epistles and Revelation. It's all describing the same events and so forth instead of the fragmentary approach that you would...might think of if you weren't looking at it that way.
WILSON: How much of that comes out of the fact of your working on the Bible there with all of its vast...
SHEDD: I don't think it.... [laughs]
WILSON: ...cross-referencing and....
SHEDD: Not much. I did work on the book of Revelation and [clears throat] I've taught that book so that it...it's always fascinated me. It continues to do so. [clears throat] And I've taught other books as well, so that in your book studies is where I'm...come more than in the working on the Bible itself.
WILSON: Now when you where in Portugal you taught at seminary there. What have your opportunities been for teaching in Brazil?
SHEDD: After those two years, the first two years in Brazil, '62 to '64, we came back for six months furlough, and on my way back I received a letter to...inviting me to teach on the faculdade in Sao Paulo, so that I began in '65. I accepted that, I mean, teaching in the New Testament field.
WILSON: Now, that...that was run by the Conservative Baptist Church or...?
SHEDD: No. It's run by the state convention of the Baptist churches of Sao Paulo state, which is four or five hundred churches.
SHEDD: Well, originally. They're not all....
WILSON: Oh, it's....
SHEDD: It's now Brazilian Baptist.
WILSON: Oh, okay.
SHEDD: They have their own organization, very strong knit, very much along the Southern Baptist plan. Very well organized. But I was invited to teach along with...later on, Richard Sturz came on the faculty, who was one of our missionaries. And then...now Bill Stolle is on, another one of ours. Then there are General Conference people on. So now we have really a majority of non-Southern Baptists on the bo...on the faculty with, of course, a great many Brazilians, that...who come in mainly to teach one course, which they...would be more or less their specialty, come in on one area, especially on church polity or Brazilian Baptist history or something like that. Well, our responsibility as missionaries is to take the brunt of the what I call core subjects, which would be Bible and theology. We feel like we have a very privileged position in the seminary having these [pauses]...these subjects.
WILSON: Now, since I just discovered there is a Brazilian Baptist Convention, I would like to ask you how...how easily has the gospel message and particularly the Baptist theology translated itself into Brazilian culture? Does...does it hit up against any special [pauses] acceptances or rejections that you don't find in an Anglo-Saxon culture?
SHEDD: I would say it does in...in one...one area, though it does here, too, to a certain extent. Your tendency in a...in a culture like Brazil is to interpret the gospel and ethics in terms of legalism and this is much more so in the Pentecostal churches, but it's true even in Baptist churches often. Christianity is fairly legalistic. And you cannot be a Christian, for instance, if you smoke. You wouldn't be a member of a church if you smoked. You might be a thief and get away with it. They wouldn't, of course, knowingly so, but you might have some other things that are really much more serious in God's sight, (my way of interpreting it, of course)...
WILSON: You might have....
SHEDD: ...but if you smoke, you're out.
WILSON: But if you have anger against your brother without just cause, that....
SHEDD: [unclear] That wouldn't fit into [Wilson laughs]...into a reason for rejecting you as a member. So you have a...a rather strong element of legalism. This is diminishing as people read more and the issues of what Christianity is all about is heart religion and heart relationship and so forth, tends to break that down. But there's still an awful lot of legalism, in...in some churches more, in some churches less. It's...it's interesting. It's identified with liberalism [?]. And liberalism has been rejected by the Evangelicals to a large extent. We're just not ready for liberalism in Brazil yet, except in a very few cases. The Methodist church has accepted liberalism to far too high an extent in their seminary. And, of course, the Lutheran church has been liberal to the core. But in the other churches, Presbyterian now is ultra-Evangelical conservative, almost [Carl] McIntyre. The Baptists are not ultra-conservative, but very conservative. And Pentecostals, of course, would be very conservative, very legalistic. You can't even have a television set in your house, would be definitely a...
WILSON: No joke.
SHEDD: ...inviting the devil in. You cannot wear...wear slacks for women. Of course, they have very strict rules on women's dress and hair cutting and all that kind of thing. It's...its like painting. So that aspect is a very strong element in the culture, so I don't know how you fit that into your question, [laughs] has the gospel has been culturized [laughs] or acculturated. It has in this sense, that if you are a Christian you identify in this way. You don't wear a beard and you don't wear pants to church and so forth, because that's condemned in the Bible very clearly. So you have an identification mark. You can pretty well identify these people as they walk around.
SHEDD: Yes, in some cases you can. Not in every case. Which isn't necessarily bad, but the legalistic element, I think, is bad, and that this means you are not a Christian and it's externalized.
WILSON: The...what's the ratio in the Protestant churches, men versus women?
SHEDD: Probably the women would be a higher percentage, but not too much higher. It hasn't been a women's...women's religion as such.
WILSON: Is Catholicism mainly a women's religion in Brazil?
SHEDD: Again, I would say that it is higher, but I don't believe that it's as much...I haven't sensed this as much as I did in Bolivia. In Bolivia, yes, I really felt that the ones who ran the church were the women [pauses], the beatas as they call them, the black-shawled dedicated Catholic women.
WILSON: Mainly because they were the only ones there?
SHEDD: Well, they would be the ones who would be going to church on any given day, the early church, you know, when you the early mass, only be there.
WILSON: Oh, on a week day.
SHEDD: Week days and that kind of thing. How much it's true in Brazil, I just am not that impressed with it as it being a factor. There would be more women, I guess, but not that many more. Might be a sixty/forty, fifty-five/forty-five, I don't know, or something like that. It's just not that impressive.
WILSON: What's...what's the Brazilian experience with machismo? I mean, does it exist?
SHEDD: It exists, but it is not that...that dominant, not as dominant as it is in Spanish America.
WILSON: The...well, gosh, I thought that you were going to talk longer on that. [laughs] Okay. [pauses] I wanted to ask about the [pauses]...the churches [pauses], or not the churches, the family. The family is a very strong ideal in Brazilian society, is it not?
SHEDD: Before they move. But with the vast immigration off the land has been just disastrous for family life, just disastrous.
WILSON: Now is...?
SHEDD: And so while it's an ideal and there are family...strong family connections, it's a nostalgia on the part of the people who have left home to find a job in the city, a nostalgia to get back to that home. But once they're out of it, they're independent and the children are raised in a very poor...poor situation for the family. You have the abandoned children problem, you know. Maybe you've read about these statistics very extremely wild, from as low as maybe one million abandoned children in Brazil to sixteen million, which seems ridiculous. I mean, I can't imagine that it would be that high. But [clears throat]...but your children are arising out of this low economic situation of these immigrant families who come in to live in the...these little shacks of the favelas on the edges of the cities like Rio and so forth, these children just running out and stealing and...and pick pockets and going to the street markets and asking for food that's being thrown away because it's, you know, going rotten. That kind of situation is very, very visible and very real. It's really part of the Brazilian scene as it is in all of Spanish America. It isn't just Brazil. But that's a...it's a very noticeable feature of the society there.
WILSON: Is the Evangelical church trying to do anything to alleviate that?
SHEDD: Yes, of course. But how effective their attempts are not that noticeable. What the churches are doing is opening clinics, for instance, free clinics for dental care or for doctors who will take a day off, when a doctor in a church, especially a higher lead church and...and take cases free of charge, and distributing clothes and even food, especially it's given from the U.S. [laughs] They are very glad to do that to these poorest people in the...in the church community. They're not doing that much as far as reaching out beyond evangelism again. See, evangelism is the first concern. And once they become members then they are concerned again to reach down to these...to the people who have made the switch and become Christians, especially if they have been baptized. Then the concern is much greater to...because they're now brothers, you see, and they're...
WILSON: Is there any...is there a good deal of inci...incidence of rice Christianity [church affiliation based on material benefits from associating with missionaries] as a result? I mean, is it fairly well known that you join this church and things get a little bit better for you, or...?
SHEDD: I don't think so. I don't think that it is so much rice Christianity, at least not in the sense that you're getting something for nothing from some other country, like the U.S. What you do get is a kind of security, which in a life which is so insecure can be extremely valuable attraction, Christianity, especially in the family relationships. So many of these immigrants are coming in without...without a shirt on their back, scarcely. I mean, they have no money. They have nothing to pay. They have no jobs and so forth. So, they'll come in from a place in the interior, Minas [Gerais]. We had so many people in our church that we were starting from Minas, three, four hundred miles away and they had a relative who'd come into the city and was making it. They had a job and, of course, they were eating while they were practically starving back there. So, they've come in and they come in and sleep on the floor or something and try to get a job through these companies through...through recommendation. The [pauses] result of this is that person, if he's not a Christian, is under tremendous pressure to become a Christian because of the fact that he's so dependent on this relative. There must be tens of thousands of people who become Christians through that...through that particular syndrome of moving in on a relative who's become a Christian and he pressures him to go to church and here's hope and enthusiasm and joy, which he's not known maybe in his life in Catholicism, maybe sort of morbid in its outlook and the view of purgatory and so forth. So, it's...it's been a very important factor in...in the growth.
WILSON: Do you see the...the church...the church family at all somewhat replacing the...the old physical blood family?
SHEDD: Definitely, oh yes. I think that's the reason why in an interior town where people are not immigrating into the town, it's just that traditional families and we have very little church growth. Churches grow slowly and they're...always seem to be small and struggling. But you come to these big cities, cities like Rio, Victoria, Sao Paulo, and in the periphery where these people move into is where all the fast growth that's ever occurred is there. That's where the churches are getting started and...and it's amazing.
WILSON: Now, I think I heard you say earlier that...that you are pastoring a church. I mean, [unclear]
SHEDD: We've started some. I was pastoring an English speaking church this last time, but we've started two other churches.
WILSON: They're Portuguese speaking?
SHEDD: Portuguese speaking churches. These in Sao Paulo in poorer areas, where one would be lower middle class and now and one low class. Not the lowest class, but just low class, depending on how you divide all these [laughs] classes up.
WILSON: How sharply are those divisions?
SHEDD: Well, that's in your own mind [laughs].
WILSON: [laughs] Okay.
SHEDD: Your lowest...lowest of the low would be living in the shacks in a genuine favela. That would be the lowest class with a lot of crime, an extremely unstable situation. Just really bad. Murders, all kinds of things going on. Read Maria Carolina de Jesus. You may have it in your library here. Her...she lived in one of those places and she tells her story. She's an amazing individual that she could even read and write. Anyway she wrote down what happened every day in her favela. [clears throat] You get up one notch to just the low class. Then you have the one room houses, unfinished, but a roof over the head. One room or sometimes two room, with one bedroom and a sort of a kitchen, very little places. And maybe not much bigger than this room [measures approximately 11.5' x 12'] [bumps table] and a well outside, [pauses] and an outhouse. That's the next stage up. That's low class. [Wilson rustles papers] Then you move up to the lower middle class where you'd have running water and a slightly better house. And so you'd just move on up according to their economic state.
WILSON: Now, when I interrupted you about that you were talking about your churches that you started.
SHEDD: Yeah. Well, the first one we started in '70 is now, I'd say, lower-middle. Some of the people are relatively well off. There might be, you know, half a dozen cars owned by the members and...
SHEDD: ...it's going very well. They've just bought the lot next door for far more than we ever paid for the original lot or the building of the church itself. But they've just bought a house.
WILSON: What for a person or...?
SHEDD: Well, no, for additional Sunday school space and expansion. They'll be able to expand the church now since it was overcrowded. The other church which would be in the low class is getting ready to build also. We helped them buy two lots which would be five hundred square meters. And we just put one very simple open hall at the back of the lot, which is the way you start down there, and then you move from there to...the main open area will then be for the main building. They're hoping to dig that out (it's on a very steep incline)...dig that out and have a basement church first, which would maybe handle two or three hundred people and then they'll be ready to build the main building, who knows...
WILSON: As the Lord provides.
SHEDD: ...ten years from now. [laughs] Yeah, as the church grows. These people are moving up, though. It's interesting. You see them moving up.
WILSON: Moving up...
WILSON: ...because of their Christianity?
SHEDD: Oh, yes. I'm sure it's part of it. They...they simply don't throw their money away as the non-Christian would, who spends much of his time in bars. That's the typical male pastime is to get off work and go straight to the bar, and they never show up at...at home except to sleep and then he's off the next morning again. So that's where his social life is carried on. So, you see, you have a bad situation for the family there, too, that the children rarely see their father. They're home with the mother, if the mother isn't working herself. And if the mother is working, then they are abandoned, you know, so fend for yourself in the neighborhood and running around.
WILSON: Well, the...you see then the...the church having a definite impact on stewardship.
WILSON: And that [pauses], I guess you haven't grown up in the culture that I did. I could never quite see that saving the pennies here and there ever really have amounted up, because there were always so darn much of it anyway. But it really works, eh?
WILSON: I wanted to ask about [pauses]...your son is going back to teach you said. That makes him what? third generation...
SHEDD: I guess you'd say.
WILSON: ...missionary. You have five children.
WILSON: Is this son the first to make the move toward...
SHEDD: Yes, I think so.
WILSON: He's your oldest one, isn't he?
SHEDD: Yes, he's the oldest.
WILSON: To what do you attribute that?
SHEDD: I think his happy memory of childhood in Brazil, his great experiences of whatever makes a person think, "Well, that's the kind of life I'd like" [laughs] [Wilson coughs] makes you want to go back to that and try to recover it. I'm not sure he will, but that's he's thinking, I think, is that he has a very high regard for his happy memories of life in Brazil. So, I think that's an important feature. Whether he'll stay down since he's only on a two-year contract is another matter, but at least he wants to go back and have some kind of input into the children in the Pan-American Christian Academy, similar to what he himself received, is what I think he is doing, too. It's a...sort of a repayment.
WILSON: Well, actually, I suppose Brazil is more home for him than the U.S. anyway, isn't it?
SHEDD: I don't know if I would say that. I guess it is, but it...he's not at all...I don't get the impression at all that's he's out of...of his...his habitat here at all [laughs]. I don't think he thinks of himself as an immigrant [laughs] at all. He feels very much at home. He's traveled all over the country. He has friends all over. He's very friendly and out-going, so this is home and that is. He's been back in Brazil. He's worked down on a Presbyterian church building project in a very remote city, about as remote as you can get in Brazil up in...called Rio Blanco, in a territory right on the border of Bolivia-Peru. And which is not exactly a pleasant part of the country. But he did write us that he realized that being there he could be happy anywhere in the world [laughs], that it didn't depend on his outward circumstances or the heat and flies, whatever else causes people to be unhappy. [both laugh] So, I think that was a good experience, too, to able to go down like that and be in a difficult location, not like Sao Paulo. Sao Paulo is really quite...quite pleasant living by comparison anyway.
WILSON: When you and your wife retire, do you plan to retire to Brazil or to the States?
SHEDD: We have no plans to retire, so I can't [pauses] say whether we'll retire there or here. [laughs] It's hard to say.
WILSON: You...you...you genuinl...genuinely have no plans to retire at all?
SHEDD: We haven't made plans. I mean, we might. [laughs]
WILSON: Oh, okay.
SHEDD: It's just that we haven't made plans.
WILSON: It's not that you haven't said specifically said, "We're not."
SHEDD: No, no. I don't mean that. I just meant we don't have any plans. [both laugh] So....
WILSON: But it...it's an open option, eh? You could go either way on it?
SHEDD: It could go either way. [pauses] There are certainly beautiful places to retire in Brazil and it may be the happier place to retire. A lot will depend, I'm sure, on where our children are located and so forth. If they're scattered over the world as they think they might be.... Our daughter is speaking frequently about wanting to go as a missionary to some other part of the world. If our boys head in the direction they're thinking seriously of is joining companies where they will be sent overseas, I mean, they would probably choose options in Latin America if possible. Then we would tend to stay there. While if they were going to be in this country you would tend to come back here for retirement. But that...we haven't even thought that far ahead because we don't know which way they will move or go.
WILSON: I think I asked you this back in our first interview. I'll ask you again. How difficult is it to hold a family together when...I mean, you and your brother and your sisters are just spread all over creation. Is it [pauses]...is it not difficult to...to retain a closeness when physical contact is so infrequent?
SHEDD: I guess so, but then so many of your American families are in the same situation. One's in California, another's on the east coast and that you only see each other rarely, once a year, once every three years. And...and we've...
WILSON: There's still the telephone.
SHEDD: ...been able to see each other. Yeah, there's a telephone, but that's a new thing, too. It didn't use to be when I was [laughs]...I didn't make a long distance call maybe in years when I was growing up. It's true, now. Things have really changed that way. It's so...so easy to call.
WILSON: I wanted to ask you also about Inter-Varsity and what...what the Conservative Baptist Mission's relationship was with Inter-Varsity, what kind of work Inter-Varsity does, if you could critique it a little bit.
SHEDD: Inter-Varsity has a...has a unity of outlook and I think it's world-wide. I don't think there's any difference between the Brazilian outlook and the...and the American or British and it is to...to turn the Christian student into an evangelist on his own without being headed up by a full-time worker in his university which would be a little more the...the approach, I believe, that Campus Crusade would take. So, their approach is have lots and lots of retreats and study sessions, anything to train this fellow to carry that mission out. And for years when I was, I guess, my main involvement outside of my direct work which was teaching in seminary and publishing books and so forth, was working with these kinds of groups. They're all over the place and those kind of things. And they're still doing it, their training sessions and they're motivating sessions also, where people give testimonies of how it's working. And it...it is working. They've really grown. It's just amazing to me that in '62 there weren't maybe more than a dozen or two people really committed to Inter-Varsity in all of Brazil maybe, while today there must be thousands. I have [laughs] no idea how many there are, but they're all over the place, at least that many, so maybe a hundred campuses by now [pauses] in groups all over. And they're...started their own publishing house. See, originally we were going to work with them as a...as a publishing concern together, and I don't know why that never really got off the ground too well in the 60s. But they finally have gotten a person that's really interested in literature, two people in fact, a Brazilian and an American. And they are just really taking this thing forward now, and it's really beginning to grow. And they are getting money from foundations and so forth to...to capitalize this, which is the big problem with publishing. And they're moving right along. They're very close together. In fact, these books that I wrote were published by them, not by our publishing house. They wanted [laughs]...they were the ones that asked me to do it and they had their own editorial staff, so.... They [pauses]...they have their own financial raising, mainly through professionals who were former Inter-Varsity people and raise really phenomenal sums of money, when you consider just a few years ago they had almost nothing. They were depending on outside funds. Now they're...they're pretty much self-supporting and have maybe twenty-five, maybe thirty workers who are trying to organize works on new places and travel in regions, and it's growing. Very, very good work.
WILSON: If I might, I am going to turn this tape over. [recorder switched off to turn reel tape over, recording then resumes]
WILSON: Okay [laughs], we're back at it. When you first went to Brazil, it wasn't very long after that that Billy Graham came for a week's worth of meetings or something.
SHEDD: Yes, it was very soon after we arrived.
WILSON: And, I guess, I took it from one of the clippings in your file in Central Files [Wheaton College department] that you were sort of his welcoming committee. Can you tell me about that...that time?
SHEDD: Well, I'm trying to think of all that...that...that we were directly involved with. I made some very good friends at that time. See, we arrived on the first of August and his meetings were in September, so there were about six weeks to seven weeks of...before the t...between the time we arrived and he arrived for these big meetings in Pacaembu [Stadium]. The...the people we were cooperating with in this publishing venture, (I mention this only very superficially), their offices in downtown Sao Paulo became the Billy Graham office [slaps leg]. So, that's why I got involved with these people, especially men like Arturo Goncalves, a very excellent translator from English...into Eng...from English into Portuguese. And because of my connection with Inter-Varsity I was invited to help in the training of the Inter-Varsity people that wanted to serve as counselors. So, I got involved in that. And so that's...that's what happened. That's nothing really very serious, since I was, you know, coming in on a new situation, I didn't have any other responsibilities other than the fact that I had this goal of getting out so many books in the next year or so. But, I had no, you know, pressing duties. I wasn't teaching in a seminary or doing anything like [slaps leg] that. It was very easy to get involved.
WILSON: So you had the time, eh?
SHEDD: Yes, and I enjoyed it. I got involved in the counseling program during the meetings, and [pauses] it was...it was good, good experience, good introduction to Brazil because it brought me into contact with different denomination leaders. And some very good friends that have been my friends ever since began right back there in those first few weeks.
WILSON: Well now, you had also worked at the Glascow Crusade .
SHEDD: Only visited it. I didn't work it.
WILSON: I thought you said counselled?
SHEDD: I was in Edinburgh.
WILSON: Edinburgh, okay.
SHEDD: And that wasn't because I'd prepared to do it. It was because I mentioned it [?] [laughs] It just happened there weren't enough counsellors around and I...I went...went forward to help.
WILSON: Well, the...I guess what I wanted to ask was can you [pauses] make any general comparisons between the English-Scottish reception of...of the...the gospel of the Graham-genre and Brazil's. How...how does a man like Graham constantly keep translating himself into different cultures?
SHEDD: Well, I think it's because his message [clears throat] is not that specifically oriented to any given culture. It's just a world-wide message. You know, it's understandable and our world is being more and more bombarded with that same kind of thing, even though cultures are distinct, the news is all...coming through all the time from all over the world. The same ticker-tapes that run their news here come right off on the headlines in Sao Paulo, you know. So, there's no big...big difficulty in this understanding. I don't remember his message being any different in one place or the other. As a matter of fact, what is different, and very...I was very much impressed with this, is the impact that these meetings will have. Although his name is very well known in Brazil, he's certainly the best-known Evangelical in Brazil, I would guess, other than maybe one or two who are now rising through television and so forth.
SHEDD: Yes, Brazilians, one of them on the Billy Graham committee.
WILSON: Who [?] is that?
SHEDD: This is Fanini, Nilson Fanini, who is really getting very well known down throughout the country because of his television programs. But the difference is that the impact, I believe, in Scotland or England must have been much greater than in Brazil. And the reason is because the churches were not preaching the message Billy Graham was preaching, while the churches in Brazil were. So, they'll say, "Well, we've heard this all along. There's nothing really that unusual. It's interesting to have this great big meeting," and so forth. It didn't really change anything as far as I could tell [claps hands]. And if people came off the streets to attend the meetings, (I don't know how many would have, rather than just church members coming to listen to this famous American evangelist)...if they came off the streets what their impressions were and how many of them actually came to know the Lord later and so forth, I.... But I...I was really impressed with the difference. In Britain and Scotland this is...this is really interesting, because here's a church that has moved away from evangelism being called back to it. In Brazil it's, you know, this is just more of the same thing they're doing all the time, only they don't usually do it on this scale, except in...now they even do that in Brazilian meetings. Twenty thousand people. Great preachers like Nilson Fanini are out there really doing this kind of thing [claps hands?]. And....
WILSON: The [pauses]...did you have any opportunity at that time to...to visit with Graham, just yourself?
SHEDD: Well, I ran into him in the elevator [Wilson laughs], said "Hello" and that was about it. [laughs].
WILSON: Alrighty. When....
SHEDD: I didn't get a chance to really talk with him at any length at all.
WILSON: Last week you mentioned that...that part of the problem with the Portuguese Baptist church was the fact that the American missions that were involved couldn't seem to get along with each other. Has that been the case with Brazil at all?
SHEDD: I'm very happy to say that [bumps microphone] it is not the case, except when the American Mission decided not to work with the Brazilian Baptists, which is true of the Mid-Missions and the A.B.W.E. [Association of Baptists for World Evangelism], which are a...more of a [pauses]...a more conservative or right-wing approach. So, they've started their own work independently of the Baptist work in Brazil. But apart from that which is really quite isolated, they haven't caused problems, one or the other. They're not fighting each other as far as I can determine.
WILSON: No great internal bickering?
SHEDD: None at all. 'Cause the situation is quite different. The missions are come in...and the reason, I guess, is very easy to explain is that we are not running the work in Brazil. But Brazil is running their own work and we are there as helpers, are invited to take certain positions, (we might be an associational director; one of our missionaries has been invited). They're very happy for help, but we're not running it. We don't try to get on any of these main boards, you know, plan the work for the whole country. We don't try to take over the state [pauses]...head of the state outreach work, such as Solovi Bernardo would do for instance. He's a Brazilian, an excellent man for it. I just think he's doing better than any missionary could do normally, unless you're really an outstanding person. And so, there's been no real [laughs]...really no reason for...for bickering because no one has tried to run it [pauses] for them. They run it themselves and we're coming in as, it's called "brotherly workers," "fraternal workers," something like that. I think we have as much influence or more than you'd have in those positions by...through your teaching and writing. I think this is the...this is where it's at now if you want to make changes in what you think needs changing. [laughs] I think we're doing it the right way. And there's no basic resentment of this that...that I can discover. This may arise at any time. They may say, "Look, you are really not thinking the way we think and we don't like this." or something like that. That could happen. But up until now, I've felt very [pauses]...very much accepted and appreciated and I believe our mission is very much appreciated in Brazil today.
WILSON: Sounds good.
SHEDD: It is. I think it's the way to go for our situation in countries that...where the work is advanced to the situation, [pauses] see, [pauses] six hundred thousand members are of Baptist churches. And where are we going to be at now about this year, [pauses] 'cause this is...this is the centennial?
WILSON: Are these Brazilian Baptist church...?
SHEDD: Six hundred thousand members. Well, it would take an awful lot of missionaries to run a thing like that, really run it [laughs]. It's sort of ridiculous to even think of it and the quality of the leaders is...is really outstanding. You have to...you have to take your hats off to them. We have major concerns in this area of...of the hollowness of the...of the churches, what the people really know of the Scriptures and the gospel and so forth. But this...this needs changing. I've mentioned that. The idea of exposition is...is just basic, I feel. And the other area that...that is a concern to me is the...an element here and there of...of liberal thinking that...that I feel will be destructive in the long run. The beginnings of...of what happened to this country in the Northern Baptist Convention, happening in the South today, Southern Baptist Convention, that...that [pauses] raises real questions about the...the inspiration of Scriptures, a high view of Scripture, and consequently of doctrine, because, of course, our doctrine depends on Scripture. [clear throat] You see this in seminaries. Our main seminaries are in Recife and Rio. I don't know to what extent any of our men in our seminary in Sao Paulo would be in this direction, but still to this day they're...they're still conservative basically. There might be a theologian here who's studied in this country or Germany or [unclear] somewhere, [clears throat], he's bringing in these ideas. But they have not yet changed the direction of the denomination, which could happen. And I feel that we are there in a sense to hold the line. That's one of the reasons that God wants us there and...and we're in sensitive positions for this.
WILSON: How much longer do you see the...there being an American involvement in the indigenous Brazilian church? I mean, there's no...there's no question that...well, maybe there will be [laughs], that Brazil would send missionaries to the US.
SHEDD: They are sending missionaries.
WILSON: Are they?
SHEDD: Into Canada, especially. More to Canada than here.
WILSON: Are they really?
SHEDD: To reach the Portuguese population. They really...in fact, it's the man who was pastor in the church right in the same compound where the seminary is, is here in New Jersey now, in this country. He's a missionary pastor and working in a...
WILSON: That's good.
SHEDD: ...Portuguese-speaking Baptist church in Newark. And some of our...one of our students is up here in Toronto, a graduate of our seminary. He's, I think, a good minister, a fine fellow. Went to Britain, studied, got English while there at Spurgeon's College. He's now a missionary there. So [pauses]...so it's happening. But they have, you know, thought in terms of reaching out to American English-speaking America, but the Portuguese populations which they think are neglected.
WILSON: Do they send missionaries back to Portugal?
SHEDD: Brazil does, yes. Yes, they have [pauses] missionaries in Portugal and in other countries, especially that ring Brazil: Venezuela. An outstanding young man that I got...I got to know, who was invited, in fact, into the southern seminary in Rio is now a missionary in Venezuela, having a very good ministry. And in Bolivia and Argentina and Uruguay and mainly Paraguay. Paraguay and Bolivia are the main ones.
WILSON: Do you...do you find that the American missionaries are still widely accepted and...and appreciated? Has Brazil fallen prey to, oh, what we see in Haiti now of "The Americans have a lot to offer, but they're foreigners. We just don't want...."
SHEDD: No, I don't think that we have this problem in Brazil for the reason I've already mentioned. And that is the Americans are no longer running the work. [sound of passing train] When you can invite a person in as a free contributor, he's helping you, well, there's no reason why you'd want him out.
SHEDD: After all, he's free. For instance, our seminary. It's an expensive school to go to. The students pay for the whole program practically. If there were not missionary teachers there, the cost would be still considerably higher and this means that we're welcome for financial reasons. I like to think and I think I'm correct in thinking that they also welcome us for our teaching. I really think they appreciate it. I think they ask our opinion on so many things, I don't...which they wouldn't do. I think they would shunt us aside if it were only financial. They don't hint even at that even, that we have just as good opinions as they do on any subject they want to take up, on how to change the school or what curriculum to put in effect. They always tend to ask us, "Won't you work on this?" And running a new program, like putting in the masters' degree program which we now have in [door closes] the seminary, was...we were very directly involved. In fact, one of your teachers, Lois McKinney, is the one who set it up. So, they're continually looking to help...for help in especially the intellectual realm and publishing realm, so forth. While at the same time they're running the show and they're making the financial decisions, which is such and important thing, I think, of feeling, you know, "This is really ours." They're the ones who decide when they're gonna put an addition onto the school building or not or whether they are going to pay teachers more or less. It's not our decision. And I'm glad it isn't. I'm very happy we don't have to take the brunt of any criticism on how money is spent. It's their problem and it really has come out to be a very happy arrangement. I don't know how long it will last. I can't think it would last forever, but it seems that all the years I've been there, it's been excellent.
WILSON: Okay. Just as a general overview, can you remember when you first went to Brazil what your hopes and aspirations were for your work and for Brazil, and how those panned out in the last twenty years?
SHEDD: Our hopes were very narrow. We hoped to start a sister distribution organization in Brazil. We would move our books out into the stores and into the homes of pastors and leaders while we continued to work in Portugal. See, we hadn't planned to move there permanently. It was only we saw the...the very favorable atmosphere, the openness of the Brazilian people, the simplicity of the operation, our involvement with that that kept us from ever thinking of going back again. And then as soon as we were invited to teach and then our [pauses] frequent invitations to speak at national organizations, so forth, has all [laughs] made us feel that [pauses] this is where we ought to stay. So, it's really grown a great deal. I don't expect to change any views. I have no further hopes or aspirations of what we now have, except for continuing growth of the publishing house, which is...I think I mentioned how it has grown tremendously and we may out...be up to a million dollars a year, who knows, in a decade or less. Who knows? I don't know. But [pauses] I feel like we're in a strategic position in...in choosing the books that are to be published that will encourage a Bible believing church. We're reaching beyond the Baptists, of course, to all the denominations that are...are Evangelical and even some cases into Catholic communities, as this Bible is now used by some Catholic groups for their study Bible, and so forth. So that is still something beyond our...our dreams. We never thought of that at all. We thought only in reaching the...mainly your Pentecostal groups that have so little training and.... So we feel God's been very good to us [bumps table], very good indeed.
WILSON: Why would a Catholic group use a Bible that did not have the Apocrypha, that had the...the Psalms numbered differently, it...?
SHEDD: It is hard to answer that. I don't know why they would use it. I just heard that they were using it, and the reason possibly would be that the charismatic Catholic movement which is still very embryonic in Brazil has [pauses]...has a good deal of suspicion of the traditional Catholic thinking. They want to get some other ideas, well, they'll...you'll find them here. They feel more Protestant. They're really in a protest in a sense against tradition when they're looking to the Holy Spirit's direction and guidance and so forth. So, one man who studied here in a graduate school is the one who told me that they were using it was Paul Lewis. I don't know if you ever met him or heard of him, but he's out in Parana. The Evangelism-in-Depth people have [pauses]...have been much more involved with Catholic fringe groups that are breaking [laughs] away from the tradition and they're the ones who told me. I...I don't really know how widespread it is. Probably it's not at all widespread. One of our big lacks, maybe it's one in this country, is that Evangelical books are not widely sold in secular bookstores or in newsstands and things like that. Now this Bible is in the main newsstand in Sao Paulo, in the largest in Sao Paulo. It's there for sale along with other Bibles, but that's a real rarity. I don't know whether anybody else is doing the same thing. That would make it available to Catholics in a way that it hasn't been up until now because it's just sold in Evangelical bookstores throughout the country. Whether that's coming in the future, whether we'll be breaking into the Catholic [pauses] or just the...the whole broad thing with a ten-volume illustrated history of the church. That might be a way to break in and suddenly Vida Nova would be known. I don't know. It would be our hope in speaking of a hope [?].
WILSON: Well, I thank you very, very much. Do you have anything else you would like to add at the end?
SHEDD: Well, no. I'm just glad to have thought through all of these things after all these years since I've never had any [Wilson laughs] occasion to be asked all these questions.
WILSON: No one ever asked? [laughs]
SHEDD: No one ever asked [pauses] so you forget them, then you [Wilson laughs] rethink them.
WILSON: I thank you very much.
END OF TAPE