DEAR MADAM - It is with heavy heart this letter is written to express my dismay at the carelessness of many Protestants today in the knowledge of their own faith.

Many people use social media as a means of keeping in touch with others and also learning what is going on in their local society, etc.

On facebook and twitter we often learn of the death of a family member or loved one of a ‘friend’ or ‘someone we follow’ on our social media feeds and of course we write a message to sympathise and maybe reflect our thoughts of the deceased. however, it amazes me how many Protestants are ignorant as to their loose use of the words ‘Rest in Peace’ or ‘RIP.’ Firstly, a member of the Protestant faith is one who belongs to any of the Christian Churches that split from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century.

Secondly, the use of the words ‘Rest in Peace’ are driven from the Latin words ‘Requiescat in pace.’ The words form part of a prayer offered to God by the Roman Catholic faith during the Roman Catholic burial liturgy and are used several times during Requiem Mass. This prayer, offered by those of the Roman Catholic faith, is in the hope that the soul of the deceased person would find peace in the next life. They use these words with the belief they are helping the deceased’s soul pass through purgatory.

As a Protestant, I do not believe in purgatory. When I die, my body will be laid in the earth and my soul will pass to heaven. The Holy Bible does not speak of any such place as purgatory. The Holy Bible teaches that at our death, the souls of believers will immediately pass to the glory of heaven and those who have rejected Christ go to the eternal torment of hell.

So fellow Protestants stay faithful to the truth of God’s word and remember your religious beliefs are very much different than that to the Roman Catholic faith and your use of the words ‘Rest in Peace’ or ‘RIP’ is not practised as part of the Protestant faith. A prayer for the dead to rest in peace is of no benefit to someone once they have passed from their time on this earth, instead we should be praying for people whilst we still can!