"There are a number of related teachings that go by various names - including: psychopannychism, thnetopsychism, annihilationism, inclusionism, soul sleep, the state of the dead and conditional immortality.
It’s interesting to know that there are only three groups of any note that hold to the notion of soul sleep. They are Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Christadelphians.
Annihilationism first appeared in the fourth century in a book from Arnobius of Sicca. It was condemned in the Second Council of Constantinople in 553.
“In the 1800’s, the United
States saw a minimal emergence of annihilationism, primarily in new
fringe groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh-day Adventists.” Hell Under Fire,
p.197. Morgan goes on to say that in addition to these groups, a number
of liberal theologians have more recently embraced a belief in
annihilation. The Mormons also believe in annihilation. Among the
Mennonites who hailed from the Anabaptists there are a few adherents to
annihilation along with some in the Church of Christ, and smatterings of
How did the teaching of soul sleep and annihilation originate within Adventism? It actually came thr u a Methodist preacher named George Storrs. In 1837 he read a tract written by one of his contemporaries, Deacon Henry Grew, from Pennsylvania. At the time, Grew was serving as a Baptist minister, but left when he began teaching soul sleep (also known as conditional immortality), since it contradicted Baptist belief and teaching.
Storrs was drawn to the teachings both of soul sleep and annihilation because he believed that it better reflected his conception of the mercy of God. He decided to write his own tract, followed by six published sermons in 1841. These were widely distributed in 200,000 tracts. It was after the publication of his teaching that Storrs joined with the Millerites, and became a preacher in that movement. He was very convincing and a number of Millerites were converted to his way of thinking.
Charles Taze Russell was one of those people. Russell had already become a follower of William Miller, and embraced his teaching that Jesus would return to Earth in 1844. When