Died Evel Knievel, the longtime daredevil known for his death-defying motorcycle stunts, on November 30. He was 69. Knievel broke as many as 40 bones during his career and also lapsed into a coma after crashing in an attempt to jump Las Vegas's Caesars Palace fountains in 1968. Earlier this year, his recounting of his late-life conversion to Christianity sparked a mass baptism at Orange County's Crystal Cathedral (see "Evel Overcome with Good"). "I don't know why I fought [God] so hard," Knievel said in his testimony. "I just did."
Died Thomas Forsyth Torrance, former professor of dogmatics at New College, Edinburgh, on December 2. He was 94. A Reformed theologian and student of Karl Barth, Torrance was born to Scottish missionary parents in Chengdu, China. He served for a time as moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and in 1978 his work on the relationship between science and theology won him the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.
Found Don LaRose, now going by the name of Ken Williams, in Centerton, Arkansas, where he was serving as mayor. The former pastor of First Baptist Church of Maine, New York, LaRose first disappeared for three months in 1975, during which time he claimed to have been kidnapped by members of a satanic cult (see "A Minister Is Missing"). In 1980 he disappeared again, saying his wife and two daughters had been threatened by the kidnappers. He has since remarried. LaRose's false identity was discovered in November after he registered a website called DonLaRose.com under his new name, Ken Williams.
Hired Maureen Girkins, as president and CEO of Zondervan. Previously, Girkins held a number of senior executive positions at hightech companies, including Motorola, AT&T, and Bell Laboratories. The author of Mother Leads Best, a book espousing the benefits of motherhood for senior executives, Girkins is in the middle of a divinity program at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. "Her success rate is impressive, as is her strong faith," said HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide president and CEO, Jane Friedman. "She will be a wonderful leader for Zondervan."
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