Remembrance, Communion, and Hope

Published by Eerdmans

Rediscovering the Gospel at the Lord’s Table

by J. Todd Billings

“Celebrating the Lord’s Supper,” says award-winning author and theologian J. Todd Billings, “can change lives.”

In this book Billings shows how a renewed theology and practice of the Lord’s Supper can lead Christians to rediscover the full rich-ness and depth of the gospel. Drawing on a broad range of insights from within and beyond the Reformed tradition, he develops a vibrant, biblical, and distinctly Reformed sacramental theol­ogy and explores how it might apply within a variety of church contexts, from Baptist to Presbyterian, nondenominational to Anglican.

At once strikingly new and deeply traditional, Remembrance, Communion, and Hope will surprise and challenge readers, inspiring them to a new understanding of—and appreciation for—the embodied, Christ-disclosing drama of the Lord’s Supper.

Book Endorsements

“Todd Billings again teaches us regarding the multi-faceted sum of the gospel. For many who have turned in recent years to a more sacramental piety, he alerts us to ways in which such practices ought always to express the gospel of Jesus Christ. For others who still find themselves holding the Supper at bay or struggling to see its significance, he suggests ways in which it promises a better grasp of the breadth, length, height, and depth of the love of God. For all of us, he provides a powerful picture that we do well never to think gospel without the Table, nor Table apart from the gospel of our Lord. Read and meditate, so that you can remember more gratefully, commune more alertly, and hope more resolutely when you come to the Table to receive freely that great gospel promise: the gifts of God for the people of God.”

— Michael Allen, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando


“Todd Billings is one of our leading interpreters of John Calvin. He has given us here a superb study of eucharistic theology in the Reformed tradition. A call to think deeply about what it means to encounter Jesus Christ in Word and sacrament.”

— Timothy George, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University


“In this richly devotional volume, Todd Billings commends the Lord’s Supper as a source of nourishment for God’s people, an essential practice not just for the church’s remembrance of Christ, but for its sanctification. This vision draws from the wells of the Reformed tradition yet it invites wide appropriation, illustrating the ecumenical fruit of theological retrieval from particularist traditions. Billings’s work displays the wide learning, sound judgment, and social conscience readers have come to expect from his writings. This book represents ‘Reformed catholicity’ at its very best.”

— Gregory W. Lee, Wheaton College


“A rich, thick, pastoral, and theologically sensitive approach to the Lord’s Supper means we have to consider more than wafers and whether or not to use wine or grape juice. The Lord’s Supper needs to be baptized into the Bible’s most significant texts—from Passover to the Day of Atonement to their reconfiguration in the crucifixion—as well as into the riches of the deep traditions of the church. Todd Billings does just that! In Remembrance, Communion, and Hope we watch a sensitive Christian dip us into the death of Christ and then raise us up with Christ to discover a hope that swallows up death in victory.”

— Scot McKnight, Northern Seminary


“Todd Billings has done it again. In the clear and heartfelt prose we have come to expect, he presents a constructive theological project in the ‘catholic-Reformed tradition’ that attends in equal measure to the importance of disciplined human action and to the sovereign and gracious activity of the triune God. Here, he calls the church to renewal through deep engagement with the Lord’s Supper as the ‘true icon’ of the good news of Jesus Christ, the form of the gospel that we can taste and see. Take this book and savor it. It will do you good.”

— Martha Moore-Keish, Columbia Theological Seminary


“Regular Eucharist reminds us what we are prone to forget: Matter matters. Dr. Billings clearly (and ecumenically) understands this enchanted world where God is showing up everywhere, particularly in the Eucharist. Readers of this significant work will walk away with an invitation to experience greater (re)formation through the Sacramental imagination—an imagination that demands we literally taste and see that God is, in fact, good.”

— AJ Sherrill, Lead Pastor, Mars Hill Bible Church


“We are creatures who hunger and thirst for God, which is why Jesus gives us bread and wine. In this audacious book, Todd Billings shows us why the renewal of the church begins around the table—how our union with Christ is deepened by communion. I hope this becomes the go-to textbook on the Lord’s Supper in Protestant seminaries. Our spiritual lives, and our witness, will be richer for it.”

— James K.A. Smith, Calvin College

Author of You Are What You Love and Desiring the Kingdom


“Todd Billings here challenges churches in many confessional traditions to take up his Reformed catholic wager to theologize and see that the Lord’s Supper is good, that reflecting on and celebrating communion are ways of being drawn more deeply into reality of the gospel, namely, life in Christ. The contents page sets the table, the chapters serve up the main courses, and the conclusion brings this theological feast to a sumptuous end.”

— Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School


“Billings’s book is a brilliant and thought-provoking (in the best sense of this clichéd phrase) book. Discussions of the Lord’s Supper are often reduced to arguments about sacramental metaphysics, the nature of Christ’s presence in the Supper, and such. Billings helpfully reminds us that the Supper is not an intellectual puzzle. It is, as Calvin rightly argued, a means of God’s grace for Christians.”
Journal of Reformed Theology, Keith A. Mathison

“Remembrance, Communion, and Hope is a fine example of the way forward in Reformed ecumenical theology and provides readers with a balanced and rounded three-dimensional view of the table.”
Journal of Theological Studies, Ronni Kurtz

“Billings has made good on his wager in this helpful work by suggesting ways in which Christians can experience Jesus Christ in a Reformed practice of the Supper that is neither dry symbolism nor unaffective ritual. This book offers value for individuals looking to understand and enhance their experience of the Lord’s Supper. It also provides a solid theological and historical discussion that may prove useful to pastors who want to enhance the formative, affective, and hopeful aspects of celebrat­ing the Lord’s Supper in their congregations.”
Calvin Theological Journal, Christopher S. De Man

“The balance of academic rigor and pastoral sensitivity that is part of Billings’ own persona permeates his theological approach to the Lord’s Supper in this text.”
Journal of Biblical and Theological Studies, James A. Arcadi

“In Remembrance, Communion, and Hope, theologian J. Todd Billings shows how partaking of Christ’s body and blood with fellow believers invites us into the depths of the gospel story.”
– Christianity Today, Matt Reynolds

“This book is easily the best recent treatment of the Lord’s Supper in the Reformed tradition. Billings’ work embodies a ressourcement theology of the Reformation that shows, contrary to popular scholarly sentiment, that there is a robust and vibrant eucharistic theology in the Reformed tradition that can sustain and nourish the church today. You don’t have to flee to Rome, Constantinople or Canterbury to have a deep sacramental piety.”
Reformed Journal, Christopher Ganski