The scriptures are very clear regarding soul sleep, as well as annihilation. It is next to impossible for most professing believers to admit it, but the Jehovah’s Witnesses got this one right. The Reformed Christians got it wrong.
A report by the Evangelical Alliance Commission on Unity and Truth Among Evangelicals (ACUTE) produced a short book (approx. 150 pages) in 2000 on the nature of Hell. It was the result of a two-year study on “Hell” by a working group of ACUTE which comes to this conclusion and recommendations:Strong emotional reactions are to be expected from those whose beliefs are challenged by biblical scholarship. In some cases, the reaction has taken the form of harassment or guilt by associations.
“We recognize that the interpretation of hell in terms of conditional immortality is a significant minority evangelical view. Furthermore, we believe that the traditionalist-conditionalist debate on hell should be regarded as a secondary rather a primary issue for evangelical theology. Although hell is a profoundly serious matter, we view the holding of either one of these two views of it over against the other to be neither essential in respect of Christian doctrine, nor finally definitive of what it means to be an evangelical Christian.” (cited by Sylvia Penny, Book Review, The nature of Hell, Search mag., Feb/Mar 2002, The Open Bible Trust, p.7)
Pinnock mentions some of the tactics of harassment used to discredit those evangelical scholars who have abandoned the traditional view. One of the tactics has been to associate such scholars with liberals or cultic groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians and Seventh-Day Adventists. Pinnock writes:
It seems that a new criterion for truth has been discovered which says that if Adventists or liberal hold any view, that view must be wrong. Apparently a truth claim can be decided by its association and does not need to be tested by public criteria in open debate. Such an argument, though useless in intelligent discussion, can be effective with the ignorant who are fooled by such rhetoric.
Yes, let us please take a look at the doctrine of conditional immortality in light of what the Bible says not just dismiss the doctrine because of association.