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Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Orange Order asks Protestants not to use the term 'RIP'
The Orange Standard published an article calling the term “unbiblical” and “un-Protestant”.

THE ORANGE ORDER has asked its members to stop using the term ‘RIP’ to express sympathy after a death.

Speaking on BBC Talkback, secretary of the Evangelical Protestant Society, Wallace Thompson, said he would encourage Protestants not to use the term.

He was speaking after The Orange Standard, a magazine for Orange Order members, published an article calling the term “unbiblical” and “un-Protestant”. The publication was marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

The article said that the term is a form of superstition which is connected historically to Catholicism, according to the BBC.

“I’m conscious that this sort of issue is a sensitive one because when we use these letters we do so at the time of a death,” he told BBC Talkback.

“Observing social media, we have noticed that the letters RIP are used a lot by Protestants, and by some evangelical Protestants.

He explained that, in his eyes, ‘RIP’ is a prayer and he didn’t encourage prayers for the dead.

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, he 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,” Thompson said.

He stressed the fact that there needs to be a better understanding of the issue among Protestants.

Wallace has previously written a post on Facebook, before it was written about by The Orange Standard, about the term.

Also speaking on BBC Talkback, former Presbyterian moderator Dr Ken Newell said he didn’t use the phrase very much.

“I think when people use [RIP] in social media, there’s a remembrance and a good wish in it, almost a blessing, but a very ancient one,” he said.

He didn’t believe that people are praying for the dead when they used the term ‘RIP’.

“If folk in the Orange Order want to take this line that’s perfectly up to them, they are making a good point.

“I think ordinary people have not worked out the issues. This comes out of the human heart,” he said.

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