Northern Ireland news

Calls for Protestants not to use the phrase 'RIP'

Wallace Thompson of the Evangelical Protestants Northern Ireland. Picture by BBC

A CATHOLIC priest has said the phrase 'RIP' should be taken as a "very holistic thought" amid calls that it should not be to used by Protestants.

The Orange Order has asked its members to stop using the term to express grief or sympathy following a death as it believes it is unbiblical.

A member of the Evangelical Protestants yesterday also said he does not encourage the use of the phrase 'RIP' as he believes "from a Protestant point of view, the use of the term not theologically sound or correct".

It comes after the Orange Order in a publication marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, called on Protestants to stop using the term 'RIP, which is an abbreviation of 'rest in peace' or in Latin.

During a discussion on the issue yesterday, Wallace Thompson from the Evangelical Protestants, said he believed the term is a prayer for the dead.

"Observing social media, we have noticed that the letters RIP are used a lot by Protestants, and by some evangelical Protestants," he told BBC Talkback.

"From a Protestant point of view, we believe, when death comes, a person either goes to be with Christ for all eternity, or into hell.

"That's what we believe the gospel to be and in this 500th anniversary year of the Reformation, I think Luther, when the scales fell off his eyes, realised that it was all by faith alone, in Christ alone, the decision is made during life, on this earth, so that when death comes it has been made and no decision has been made after death".

He added that "from a Protestant point of view, the use of the term not theologically sound or correct".

But Catholic priest Fr Martin Magill said he believed it is a "very holistic thought in which the person will eventually find eternal happiness".

He added that by talking about the issue, it served as a "very useful basis for further discussion and dialogue".

The Orange Order, in a statement from county grand master Stuart Brooker to the Impartial Reporter newspaper, said: "This article clearly explains why we as Protestants, and members of the Orange Institution, shouldn't use the term 'RIP'.

"It also reminds us that if we need guidance in any matter, we should refer to what the bible teaches."

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