A manual for serious students of theology--fiercely intellectual, unflinchingly polemical, and in some ways a brilliant piece of work. Bloesch, who teaches at the Dubuque Theological Seminary, is basically a hard-line exponent of classical Reformation thought, but he draws upon the length and breadth of Christian tradition in an effort to defend Christianity from the ""new modernism,"" i.e., the complex of trends which water down, or deny the uniqueness of, biblical revelation. Bloesch expounds seven major doctrinal theses: the sovereignty of God, the primacy of Scripture, man's ""total depravity,"" the divinity of Jesus, the substitutionary atonement, salvation by grace, and justification by faith alone. On each of these questions he presents the Evangelical consensus, along with divergent views and out-and-out heresies. Bloesch's command of his sources is stunning. He seems equally at home in Aquinas and Calvin, Pascal and Kierkegaard, Barth (his model among the moderns) and Rahner. He threads his way through the welter of contradictory opinions (all concisely explained and illustrated with telling quotations) with exceptional clarity and precision. Some readers may object to the astringent tone of his apologetics: Bloesch pulls no punches in confronting ""error,"" and he sees error almost everywhere. He finds Roman Catholic teaching, for example, shot through with semi-Pelagianism. On the other hand, he gives the book an irenic, ecumenical cast by emphasizing the many points of agreement between Catholic church fathers and the Reformers. Bloesch's greatest problem may lie in the intrinsic harshness of his theology, but obviously to soften it would have been to betray it. Indispensable for ministers and seminarians, an illuminating demonstration of the conservative religious mind.