Non SDA sources affirming the State of the Dead (conditional immortality or soul sleep) and annihilation (Hellfire)

Present Day sources

Dr. Edward Fudge, an evangelical Christian theologian writes, “Indeed, death involves the separation of body and spirit but a word of caution is in order. "Spirit" (from Latin, spiritus) is ruach (Hebrew) or pneuma (Greek) -- "breath" or "wind" -- with which our material body is living and without which it is dead (Gen. 2:7). The spirit is not some immaterial "real person" or "immortal soul" which remains conscious when the body is dead, as in Platonic thought. The notion that "death is the separation of the soul from the body" in that sense comes from Socrates and his kin, not from the Jewish or Christian Scriptures…“According to the New Testament, the saved will be raised "immortal" -- incapable of dying (Rom. 2:7). The lost, not being made immortal, will be raised to die again in the second death (Rev. 21:8). That second death is the everlasting destruction by which Jesus will punish the willfully rebellious (2 Thess. 1:9). It is the eternal punishment of which Jesus himself warned (Matt. 25:46). (Source:, see “The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of Final Punishment”)

Babu G. Ranganathan, Reformed Baptist, “I had believed in the traditional view of hell for most of my Christian life so I am very familiar with the various views about hell that evangelical Christians hold”.. “Few in society realize just how much ancient Greek philosophy influenced early Christian thought on hell. The ancient Greeks believed and taught that the human soul is immortal and indestructible. When early Christianity adopted this belief then it became only logical to believe that those who go to hell must suffer eternal torment.” (Mr. Ranganathan is a religion and science writer, and has been recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis Who's Who In The East. He holds a B.A. with concentrations in theology and biology from Bob Jones University (the author does not endorse or support everything about the university). He also completed two years of full-time graduate study in law at Western New England College School of Law in Springfield, Massachusetts. Source:

Clark H. Pinnock, (1937-2010), Ph. D., Professor of Theology, McMaster Divinity College. He writes, “How can Christians possibly project a deity of such cruelty and vindictiveness whose ways include inflicting everlasting torture upon his creatures, however sinful they may have been? Surely a God who would do such a thing is more nearly like Satan than like God, at least by any ordinary moral standards, and by the gospel itself.“ (Source: Clark H. Pinnock, “The Destruction of the Finally Impenitent,” Criswell Theological Review 4 (1990-Spring), Pages 246-47).

John Stott, (1921-2011), was an English Christian leader and Anglican cleric who was noted as a leader of the worldwide Evangelical movement.

Champions of conditional immortality 20th century

John Wenham, (1913-1996) was an Anglican Bible scholar, "I believe that endless torment is a hideous and unscriptural doctrine which has been a terrible burden on the mind of the church for many centuries and a terrible blot on her presentation of the Gospel. I should indeed be happy, if before I die, I could help in sweeping it away." (Facing Hell, An Autobiography 1913-1996).

Canon William H.M. Hay Aitken (1841-1927) was an Anglican mission organizer who stated: "The doctrine of Eternal Torment has lost its hold on the common sense and moral sensibilities of mankind. People do not and will not believe that an infinitely good and merciful God can consign His own offspring (Acts 17:28-29) to measureless aeons of torture in retribution for the sins and weaknesses of a few swiftly passing years here on earth."

Dr. William Temple (1881-1944) was the Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of Great Britain, “"Man is not immortal by nature or right; but he is capable of immortality and there is offered to him resurrection from the dead and life eternal if he will receive it from God and on God's terms."

Dr. Aubrey R. Vine (1900-1973) was the editor of `The Congregational Quarterly' and professor at Yorkshire United Independent College who stated: "The natural immortality of the spirit is a Greek rather than a Christian concept."

Dr. Martin J. Heinecken (1902-1998) was professor of systematic theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, “We are dealing with a unified being, a person, and not with something that is called a soul and which dwells in a house called the body, as though the body were just a tool for the soul to employ, but not really a part of the person."

Basil Atkinson (1875-1970s), was the under-librarian of the University of Cambridge from 1925 to 1960, and a writer on theology. 

Eric Lewis (1864-1948) of Cambridge University was a missionary to the Sudan and India.

C.S Lewis (1898-1963), lay theologian, and Christian apologist, "But I notice that Our Lord, while stressing the terror of hell with unsparing severity usually emphasises the idea not of duration but of finality. Consignment to the destroying fire is usually treated as the end of the story—not as the beginning of a new story. That the lost soul is eternally fixed in its diabolical attitude we cannot doubt: but whether this eternal fixity implies endless duration—or duration at all—we cannot say. (C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain. London and Glasgow: Collins, 1940, p114–115)

F. F. Bruce (1910-1990), Biblical scholar and one of the founders of the modern evangelical understanding of the Bible. "..annihilation is certainly an acceptable interpretation of the relevant New Testament passages ... Eternal conscious torment is incompatible with the revealed character of God" (Letter from F. F. Bruce to John Stott in 1989, as quoted in John Stott: A Global Ministry, 354)

Champions of conditional immortality 19th century

Dr. Amos Phelps, (1805-1874), a Methodist-Congregationalist clergyman and professor of Yale University, wrote: "This doctrine [of natural immortality] can be traced through the muddy channels of a corrupted Christianity, a perverted Judaism, and pagan philosophy, and a superstitious idolatry, to the great instigator of mischief in the garden of Eden.

Herman Olshausen (1796-1839) was professor of theology at Königsberg, Ostpreussen in Germany. He wrote: "The doctrine of the immortality of the soul and the name are alike unknown in the entire Bible."

William E. Gladstone (1809-1898) was a British Prime Minister and Theologian, "The doctrine of natural, as distinguished from Christian, immortality had not been subjected to the severer tests of wide publicity and resolute controversy, but had crept into the Church, by a back door as it were; by a silent though effective process; and was in course of obtaining a title by tacit prescription."

H.H. Dobney (1809-1883) was a Baptist pastor in MaidstoneEngland.

Champions of conditional immortality 18th century

Dr. William Coward (1657-1725) was a practicing physician in London. He states, "Second thoughts concerning the human soul, demonstrating the notion of human soul, as believed to be a Spiritual and Immortal Substance, united to a Human Body, to be plain Heathenish Invention, and not Consonant to the principles of Philosophy, Reason or Religion."

Dr. William Whiston (1667-1752) was a Baptist theologian and professor of mathematics at Cambridge University

Prof. Henry Dodwell (1641-1711) was a classical scholar and professor at Oxford and became known as `the learned Dodwell'. He set out to "... prove from the Scriptures and the First Fathers, that the soul is in principle naturally mortal, but immortalized actually by the pleasure of God."

Champions of conditional immortality 17th century

John Milton (1608-1674), was a well known or even the greatest of the sacred poets, "Inasmuch as the whole man uniformly said to consist of body, and soul (whatever may be the distinct provinces of these divisions), I will show, that in death, first, the whole man, and secondly, each component part, suffers privation of life. ... The grave is the common guardian of all till the day of judgment." 

Richard or Robert Overton (1609-1679), scholar, soldier and pamphletier

Samuel Richardson (1633-1658), pastor of the First Particular Baptist Church of London 

Champions of conditional immortality 16th century

William Tyndale, "And ye, in putting them [departed souls] in heaven, hell, and purgatory, destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection."

George Wishart (1500-1546), Greek scholar, friend of Latimer, tutor of John Knox.

Other champions of conditional immortality

Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation, "For just as one who falls asleep and reaches morning unexpectedly when he awakes, without knowing what has happened to him, so we shall suddenly rise on the last day without knowing how we have come into death and through death." "We shall sleep, until He comes and knocks on the little grave and says, Doctor Martin, get up! Then I shall rise in a moment and be happy with Him forever."—Froom, Conditionalist Faith, vol. 2, pp. 74, 75.

William Tyndale, the great Bible translator, speaking of the dead: "I am not persuaded that they be already in the full glory that Christ is in, or the elect angels of God are in. Neither is it any article of my faith: for if it were so I see not but then the preaching of the resurrection of the flesh is a thing in vain". (William Tyndale, "The New Testament diligently corrected and compacted with the Greek' (Antwerp, 1534, sig. xxv, n). Quoted in "The Soul Sleepers", pages 50,51.)

Other 20th century theologians who favour annihilation

  • Ulrich Ernst Simon (1913-1997) was an Anglican theologian of German Jewish origin.
  • John Wenham (1913-1996) was an Anglican Bible scholar.
  • Philip Hughes (1915 -1990) was an Anglican clergyman and New Testament scholar.
  • G. B. Caird (1917-1984), D.Phil., D.D., FBA, was a British churchman, theologian, humanitarian, and biblical scholar.
  • William Temple, (1881-1944) was a priest in the Church of England.
  • Oliver Chase Quick, (1885–1944) was an English theologian.
  • Bishop Charles Gore (1853-1932) was a British theologian and Anglican bishop.
  • Michael Green (b1930), is a British theologianAnglican priestChristian apologist and author of more than 50 Christian books.