Only a few Christian leaders in South America have won as much unanimity in life as Russell Phillip Shedd.
The esteemed pastor, theologian, missionary, teacher, writer, and lecturer died last weekend in São Paulo, Brazil, where he lived and served for more than 50 years. Shedd died of complications from cancer. He was 87.
Missionary work ran deep in his veins his entire life. Shedd was born in Bolivia to American crosscultural missionary workers, and took interest in evangelism at an early age. After completing his studies and becoming an ordained Baptist minister, Shedd spent three years in Portugal with the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society (CBFMS) before moving to Brazil, where he began a notable ministerial and academic career.
Shedd collaborated for the growth of the evangelical church in Brazil not only as a preacher and a speaker, but also as a writer. He founded Edições Vida Nova (New Life Publishing House), one of the best-known Brazilian publishers for theological resources and other Christian reference books. Through this publisher, Shedd shaped the theological formation of most of Brazil’s 200,000 pastors.
As the author of more than 20 titles, Shedd became a beloved and respected personality by churches of all theological currents, ecclesiastical organizations, and missionary agencies. He was a columnist of renowned evangelical publications in Brazil and abroad, including Christianity Today Brazil (Cristianismo Hoje).
Shedd is remembered for the orthodoxy of his faith, for the sweetness of his temperament, and for his unassailable conduct. He devoted himself wholeheartedly to the teaching of Scripture. His in-depth knowledge of the biblical languages led him to serve as a consultant on several versions of the Bible—including the New International Version in Portuguese and a study Bible that bears his name, the Shedd Bible (Bíblia Shedd), with widespread use in Brazil for more than 30 years.
With degrees from Wheaton College, Philadelphia’s Faith Seminary, and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Shedd went on to teach New Testament studies and direct the New Testament and exegesis department of the Baptist Theological Faculty of São Paulo.
He lived in Brazil’s most populous city with his wife of 59 years, Patricia. Days before his death, Shedd spoke of his gratitude to God for the life he led. His remarks revealed a deep serenity before eternity. He preferred to spend his last days at home, surrounded by his 5 children, 14 grandchildren, and great-granddaughter.