Clarity sought from Protestant churches on their thoughts about prayers for the dead
A letter from Robert McFarland:
The leaders of the four main churches in Northern Ireland regularly appear together and issue joint messages, including one in the News Letter yesterday (Letters, April 13, see link below).
A fundamental difference appears between Archbishop Eamon Martin and Biblical Protestantism. While expressing his sympathy to the Royal Family, the Roman Catholic Archbishop states that he ‘will pray for the happy repose of the soul of Prince Philip.’ (‘Queen Elizabeth is in our prayers,’ April 10, see link below).
Do the leaders of Anglicanism, Presbyterianism and Methodism now acknowledge the necessity of prayers for the dead? Do they agree that the finished work of Christ must be augmented by the prayers of men? Do they believe that the ‘great gulf fixed’ referred to by Abraham in Luke chapter 16 can be circumvented for either a rich man or a beggar?
The repentant thief at Calvary received the assurance of an immediate and everlasting salvation. Jesus Christ said ‘Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.’ The dying thief was saved by faith alone. Sinful man can only be accepted before a holy God with the imputed righteousness of Christ.
Will the Protestant church leaders declare our immediate need of personal repentance from sin? Will they confirm the sufficiency of Christ’s once for all sacrifice for sin?
Perhaps praying for ‘the happy repose’ of someone’s soul is just another foundational truth that must be ignored in the interests of church unity!
Robert McFarland, Dungannon
• Catholic Archbishop: Queen Elizabeth and the Royal family are in our prayers
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