We are doing, or attempting to do, our theological education in the form of discussion times, generally held in pubs (we like the public space, the relationships created with the staff and regulars... plus there's always good food and drink). For our "on ramp" or basic, introductory discussions, we've used Stan Grenz's Created for Community , a summary of his systematic theology, Theology for The Community Of God (both of which you can get used on Amazon)
We're gettng ready to start doing some "middle lane" discussions- our first will be on Christology, and with it, we're making the jump to the larger theology.
I love Grenz's work on many levels... First, I had the opportunity to interact with the man a few years back, and he struck me as real and genuine and personable. Second, his theological writing is real, and genuine and personable. :)
Here's a summary statement from the opening to the section on Christology. I think we're going to miss Grenz's voice... he died suddenly last year.
The Bible presents salvation history in narrative form. It recounts the acts of the triune God in accomplishing his intention for creation. From beginning to end God's intent is the establishment of community. Throughout history the Creator who noted the solitariness of the first human in the Garden of Eden is actively bringing into being the community he envisions for the world .
One day God's activity in history will climax with the coming of the new heaven and new earth, as anticipated by the Old Testament prophets and developed more fully by the closing chapters of the book of Revelation. This future new order will be characterized by community in the fullest sense. The peoples of the new earth will live together in peace. Nature will again fulfill its purpose of providing nourishment for all earthly inhabitants (Rev.22:1-4). Most glorious of all, however, God will dwell with humans on the new earth, bringing to completion the ultimate divine design for creation (Rev.21:3;22:3-5).
The establishment of community as the overarching purpose of God forms the integrative motif or ordering principle for systematic theology... When viewed in terms of the theme of community, theology proper ( the doctrine of God ) becomes the explication of the nature of the God whose goal is that of establishing community. This God is the Triune One, the community of the three persons. The Christian understanding of God as the Trinity sets forth God as the foundation for establishing the eschatological community. God is throughout eternity the community of the Father, Son, and Spirit. In history, therefore, the triune God is at work seeking to bring creation into participation in this eternal fellowship.