A Great Systematic Theology for Laypeople

I’ve enjoyed Michael Horton’s The Christian Faith for some time now. However, it’s not exactly a book to recommend for someone new to adding a systematic theology to his or her library. Thankfully, Horton realized this as well and has done the work to make another version for the serious layperson. I’ve recently been able to look through his Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples, and will now be recommending it when asked about where to start with systematic theology. 
First of all, I love that Horton’s introduction is an aim to answer the question, Why Study Theology? And in this description, he sets up the coordinates for the rest of the book: drama, doctrine, doxology, and discipleship:
All of our faith and practice arise out of the drama of Scripture, the “big story” that traces the plot of history from creation to consummation, with Christ as its Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. And out of the throbbing verbs of this unfolding drama God reveals stable nouns---doctrines. From what God does in history we are taught certain things about who he is and what it means to be created in his image, fallen, and redeemed, renewed, and glorified in union with Christ. As the Father creates his church, in his Son and by his Spirit, we come to realize what this covenant community is and what it means to belong to it; what kind of future is promised to us in Christ, and how we are to live here and now in light of it all. The drama and the doctrine provoke us to praise and worship---doxology---and together these three coordinates give us a new way of living in the world as disciples. (16)
With these coordinates in place, Horton gives us a pilgrim theology so that we too enter “into a long, ongoing conversation, one that we didn’t begin” (14).  
One of Horton’s strengths is that he can teach at both an academic and a popular level. This work of theology is presented in an accessible way for a wider audience of serious learners. And we should all want to be serious learners. Horton doesn’t water anything down, rather, he gives us the meat that he’s already tenderized and cut into manageable portions. So the reader will learn new vocabulary, the important words in each chapter being boldfaced. At the end of each chapter are a review of key terms, key distinctions, and key questions for the individual reader or study group to work through for further understanding. He provides helpful charts and highlights these key distinctions in each chapter.
I love that Horton uses these key distinctions to help the reader learn discernment. At the end of the book, there is short section on why this is important, along with a summary of all those distinctions he taught throughout the book and the page numbers to go back and find them on. There is also a glossary of terms in the back of the book, another helpful chart applying the coordinates from drama to doctrine, and a Scripture index. Not only that, you can cruise over to the Zondervan website to get more teaching and study resources for both teachers and students.
But it gets even better: Zondervan has the Pilgrim Theology ebook on sale this week for only $7.99. There’s just no excuse not to have a good systematic theology book that provides a great biblical and historical explanation of the Reformed faith, the Pilgrim’s faith, on your bookshelf. The Christian Faith ebook is also on sale for $8.99. These are excellent prices! While you are at the website, also notice Michael Bird’s new book, What Christians Ought to Believe is on sale as well.