Essentially a text book, this volume is not just another handbook of the churches for ready reference. Called ""a comparison of Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism"", its chief concern is not historical or expository, but rather to show how the various churches of Chris understand and communicate the Gospel. Niesel, a German pastor and scholar, is oriented in the continental Reformed tradition, and does not hesitate to be critical of these churches whose understanding of the Gospel is not the same as his, or for whom tradition and Church assume more importance, but on the whole the book is surprisingly well balanced. Especially valuable to Protestant readers should be the section on the Gospel and Human Catholicism, to which he gives 165 pages. He writes that ""the Roman Church has increasingly to seal itself off from the Gospel, so that we are bound to ask whether it is not in fact another Gospel which is being preached there"", but he none-the-less presents the claim of the Roman Church clearly and fairly, and provides answers to questions Protestants are always asking, only to receive ambiguous answers in words and concepts they do not understand. The second part of the last section ""Anglo-Saxon Churches of the Reformation"" will be of special interest to American readers, the more so because we ourselves through the eyes of a European who sometimes sees more clearly from a distance.