...all quotes appear appear in the book Question on Doctrine:
The 16th Century:
MARTIN LUTHER (1493-1546) "We should learn to view out death in the right
light, so that we need not become alarmed on account of it, as unbelief does;
because in Christ it is indeed not death, but a fine, sweet and brief sleep,
which brings us release from this vale of tears, from sin and from the fear
and extremity of real death and from all the misfortunes of this life, and we
shall be secure and without care, rest sweetly and gently for a brief moment,
as on a sofa, until the time when He shall awaken us together with all His
dear children to His eternal glory and joy..."
"For since we call it a sleep, we know that we shall not remain in it, but
be again awakened and live, and that the time during which we sleep, shall
seem no longer than if we had just fallen asleep. Hence we shall censure
ourselves that we were surprised or alarmed at such a sleep in the hour of
death, and suddenly come alive out of the grave and from decomposition, and
entirely well, fresh, with a pure, clear, slorified life, meet our Lord and
savior jesus Christ in the clouds..."
"Scripture everywhere affords such consolation, which speaks of the death
of the saints, as if they fell asleep and were gathered to their fathers,
that is had overcome death through this faith and comfort in Christ, and
awaited the resurrection, together with the saints who preceeded them in
death." [ A Compend of Luther's Theology, edited by Hugh Thomson Ker, Jr.,
page 242 ]
"Luther espoused the doctrine of the sleep of the soul, upon a scripture
foundation, and then he made use of it as a confutation of purgatory, and
saint worship, and continued in that belief to the last moment of his life."
[ Short Historial View of the Controversy Concerning an Intermediate State,
by Archdeacon Francis Blackburne, pub. 1765 ]
WILLIAM TYNDALE (1484-1536) English Bible translator and martyr. Tyndale
supported Luther in the revived teaching of conditional immortality, and it
brought with him into direct conflict with the church of Rome.
"And ye, in putting the departed souls in heaven, hell, and purgatory,
destroy the arguments wherein Christ and Paul prove the resurrection... and
again, if the souls be in heaven... then what cause is there of the
"The true faith setteth forth the resurrection, which we be warned to look
for every hour. The heathen philosophers, denying that, sis set forth the
souls did ever live. And the Pope joineth the spirtual doctrin of Christ and
the fleshly doctrine of philosophers together; things so contrary that they
cannot agree, no more than the spirit and the flesh do in a Christian man.
And because the fleshly-mined Pope Consenteth unto heathen doctrine,
therefore he corrupteth the scripture to stablish it." [ An answer to Sir
Thomas More's Dialog, 1850 reprint ]
JOHN FRITH (1500-1533) Associate of Tyndale and fellow martyr.
"...that some are already in hell and some in heaven, which thing ye shall
never be able to prove by the scriptures..."
GEORGE WISHART (1500-1546) Greek scholar, tutor of John Knox, and martyr.
Wishart was charged with attacking auricular confession, transubstantiation,
extreme unction, holy water, invocation of saints, and purgatory. "Charge
XVI" was for promulgating the doctrine of the sleep of the soul.
"GENERAL BAPTISTS" were spread in large numbers over many of the provinces
of England. As one article of faith they held "that the soul, between death
and the resurrection at the last day, has neither pleasure or pain, but is in
a state of insensibility." [ Institutes of Ecclesiastical history by Johann
L. von Mosheim ]
The 17th Century:
R. OVERTON Scholar, soldier, and pamphleteer.
"...as whole man sinned, so whole man died..."
"...the present going of the soul into heaven or hell is a meer fiction: at
the resurrection is the beginning of our immortality, and then actual
condemnation or salvation, and not before." [ Man's Mortality, pub. 1643 ]
JOHN MILTON (1608-1674) 'Greatest of the sacred poets' and Latin secretary
to Cromwell. "Inasmuch as the whole man is uniformly said to consist of
body, and soul... 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 judgement."
ARCHBISHOP JOHN TILLOTSON of Canterbury (1630-1694) "I do not find that
the doctrin of the immortality of the soul is anywhere expressly delivered in
scripture, but taken for granted." [ Works, 1717 edition, Vol 1, pg. 749 ]
The 18th Century:
HENRY LAYTON (1670-1706) Anglican, author of 12 books on conditionalism.
During life we live and move in Christ; and when we die we rest and sleep
in him, in expectation of being raised at His second coming.
JOSEPH SCOTT, M.D. (1703) 1769) Minister
His published sermons maintain that life is for the righteous only, with
destruction for the wicked.
DR. JOSEPH PRIESTLEY (1733-1804) Unitarian, scientist, philosopher.
The "state of the soul in death" is one of utter insensibility, as much
dead as the body itself while it continues in the state of death.
BISHOP EDMOND LAW (1703-1787) Master of St. Peter's College, Bishop of
Carlisle. Held death to be a sleep, a negation of all life, thought, or
action -- a state of rest, oblivion.
ARCHDEACON FRANCIS BLACKBURNE of Cleveland (1705-1787)
Wrote the most complete history of the topic in the 18th century; published
The 19th Century:
..this list is so extensive the people will be presented with generic titles.
DR. WILLIAM THOMPSON (1819-1890) Archbishop
DR. EDWARD WHITE (1819-1887)
DR. LYMAN ABBOTT (1835-1992) Congregationalist
DR. JOHN THOMAS (1805-1971) Founder of Christia...
H.H. DOBNEY (1809-1883) Baptist Pastor, England
ARCHBISHOP RICHARD WHATELY (1787-1863)
DEAN HENRY ALFORD (1810-1871) Canterbury
JAMES PANTON HAM (1849) Congregationalist
CHARLES F. HUDSON (1821-1867) Greek Scholar
DR. ROBERT W. DALE (1829-1895) Editor
DEAN FREDERICK FARRAR (1831-1903) Dean
WILLIAM GLADSTONE (1809-1898) Prime Minister
JOSEPH PARKER (1830-1902) London Pastor
SIR GEORGE STOKES (1820-1903) Cambridge
DR. R. F. WEYMOUTH (182201902) Headmaster
DR. GEORGE Boardman (1828-1903) First Baptist
BISHOP CHARLES ELLICOTT (1820-1905) Chairman
..it's almost impossible to list all the great Christian leaders who have
believed in the sleep of the soul in death, let alone be able to quote them
all. Hundreds upon hundreds of learned Christians throughout history have
believed in "conditional immortality" as taught in the Bible.
Here are two more names and their extremely important published quotations:
The 20th Century:
DAVID DAVIES Rector, St. Mary Magdalen, St. Leonard-on-the-sea, Britain.
"The soul of a man is not necessarily automatically immortal. It is
capable of being destroyed. The Bible offers no ground whatsoever for
believing that the soul is immune from death and destruction. The soul
CAN be destroyed."
"The immortality of the soul is NOT a Biblical doctrine, but GREEK
PHILOSOPHY. The Biblical doctrine about the soul is the resurrection of the
dead. Man is a created being. God created him out of nothing. Man was
created for immortality, but by his own rebellion against God he made himself
"The idea of the 'immortality of the soul' derives from Greek Philosophy
which conceuved the after-life of Hades..." [ The Art of Dodging Repentance,
pub. 1952, pg. 84 ]
DR. EMIL BRUNNER Born 1889, professor of systematic and practical
theology, University of Zurich, guest professor at Princeton, and
International Christian University, Tokyo.
"According to PLATOISM: the body is mortal, the soul immortal. The moral
husk conceals this external essence which in death is freed from its outer
shell... but this solution to the problem of death stands in irreconcilable
opposition to Christian thought."
"For the history of western though, the Platonic teaching of the
immortality of the soul became of special significance. It penetrated so
deeply into the thought of western man because, although with certain
modifications, it was assimilated by Christian theology and church teaching,
was even declared by the Lateran Council of 1513 to be a dogma, to contradict
which was a heresy." [ Eternal Hope, pub. 1954, pg. 100 ]
So... The "sleep" of man in death has been believed in and taught by
thousands of theologians since the old reformation days of Martin Luther.
It's not "new" even though this may be the first you've heard of it. And
the source for UNconditional immorality is Pagan Green Philosophy.