Shen studied the arts and theology at St. John’s University in Shanghai, founded by Bishop Schereschewsky in 1872. Between 1917 and 1934, he pastored the Nanjing Anglican Church. He also studied theology at Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England. In 1934 he received his doctorate in theology from St. John’s University and was sent to the county of Xiaxi to preside over the mission field founded by the Chinese Anglican Church. The aim was to develop the diocese into a self-supporting one. The church was involved in the war of resistance against the Japanese. Shen was associated with political activists such as Zhou Enlai, Zhu De, and others. He was forced to leave Xiaxi for Sichuan in the latter part of the war.
He took up a teaching post at the Huaxi Theology Institute. In 1946 he was the secretary of the Chinese Anglican Church Institute and also dean of the Shanghai Central Theology Institute. He also taught at Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, which was set up in 1952. He retired in 1958 and settled in Shanghai.
In 1954 he was elected a committee member of the national Three-Self Patriotic Movement. He was a consultant to the China Christian Hymns Committee before his death in 1982. Shen was an advocate for the indigenization of the church and encouraged the adaptation of traditional Chinese music and art in the church.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, copyright © 2001 by Scott W. Sunquist, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.