Dr Trumper is buried in the cemetery of Bethany Free Church, Clarbeston Road, Pembrokeshire. Clarbeston Road is located five miles from Haverfordwest.
“Behold, I show you a mystery; . . . In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible . . .” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
On April 21, 2016, the gravestone was erected courtesy of E.C. Thomas and Son. Apart from the addition of “In loving memory” and “Rev.” the wording is as per the desires Dr Trumper left on his computer. Although his omission of “Rev.” bespoke a certain ambivalence about the use of “Reverend” (Psalm 111:9), the decision was taken to include this indication of his ordained status in recognition of his years of ministry long after he ceased, through invalidity, to serve formally as a minister.
Dr Trumper was very clear about two matters; namely, that there would be no “RIP” on the headstone nor a cross. The former he would have considered overly used, especially among those professing no faith in Christ. The latter he saw as just as trite when used as a decoration, since the cross culminated in a brutal and accursed atoning death (Gal. 3:13), and was followed by the empty tomb, without which the cross would have no abiding relevance.
Although, as a former actor, Dr Trumper was artistically gifted, he was passionate about the Word of God. Unsurprisingly, then, he preferred the Word of God to signs or symbols on the headstone. The verse he chose, Acts 20:21, is significant for two reasons.
First, the text brings together the two conscious elements of a sinner’s conversion: “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,” More often than not, the New Testament speaks of the sinner’s conversion synechdochally. That is to say, by means of either repentance or faith when in fact the sinner’s consciousness of converting to Christ includes both repentance and faith. To quote Professor John Murray (1898-1975), the convert to Christ possesses “a believing repentance and a penitent faith.” Following the apostle Paul, Dr Trumper was keen to stress both repentance and faith.
Second, Dr Trumper may well have chosen Acts 20:21 because of the context in which the apostle Paul mentions repentance and faith. En route to Jerusalem in haste for the Day of Pentecost, Paul called from Miletus to Ephesus for the Elders to come the forty or so miles south. On their arrival, he reminded them of the work he had undertaken in their presence:
I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Since Dr Trumper was conscious of the return of his remains to the place of his most industrious and blessed evangelistic and pastoral ministry, it is not difficult to see why the apostle’s words would have had such appeal for him. They gave expression to his ministry in Pembrokeshire during the years 1962-1982, and afforded him opportunity to speak lastingly to visitors to his grave of the call of the gospel he preached in life and now in death.
Other questions about the gravestone may arise, but the ultimate concern is whether we have personally turned to God in repentance, and are resting entirely in Christ for our salvation. Dr. Trumper, a former atheist, would not have you leave life without doing so, nor would anyone else who has found in Jesus Christ forgiveness, a relationship with God, and a hope of heaven to come. As the New Testament tells us repeatedly, “Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (e.g., Acts 2:21).