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Recent deaths, retirements, and other transitions in the Christian world.

DiedAnthony Flew, prominent atheist philosopher who became a deist in 2004, on April 8. He was 87.

Disappeared •  Gao Zhisheng, Chinese Christian human-rights lawyer, again on April 20. He was abducted in 2009 and reappeared March 28 after renouncing his activism.

Retiring •  N.T. Wright, as Bishop of Durham on August 31 in order to focus on writing and teaching. He will be a New Testament research professor at University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Stepping •  Down Bill Leonard, as dean of Wake Forest University School of Divinity, on August 1. The Baptist historian, who is founding dean of the divinity school, will be replaced by Gail O'Day, senior associate dean at Emory University's Chandler School of Theology and a United Church of Christ minister.

Stepping Down •  Cornelius Plantinga Jr., as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, after the 2010-2011 school year. He will be succeeded by Julius Medenblik, a senior pastor from New Lenox, Ill., and chair of the seminary's board of trustees.

Leaving •  Robert Yarbrough, as New Testament chair at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, in Fall 2010. He will return to Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Mo., which he left in 1996.

Died •  Cecil Sherman, founding coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, on April 17 in Richmond, Virginia. He was 82.

Appointed •  Beck Taylor, as president of Whitworth University, on April 16. Beck, currently dean of economics for the Brock School of Business at Samford University, will begin July 1.

Died •  Michael Spencer, popular Baptist blogger known as "Internet Monk," from cancer on April 5 in Oneida, Kentucky. He was 53.


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