The Upside Down Kingdom: Wisdom for Life from the Beatitudes

By Chris Castaldo

... Show All

The Upside Down Kingdom: Wisdom for Life from the Beatitudes

By Chris Castaldo

... Show All

An Examination of the Beatitudes and Jesus’s Counterintuitive Promises

In our sinful world, we often struggle with anxiety, loneliness, and heartache. Everywhere we look, we see broken families and divided communities. How can we truly cultivate God’s kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven” in such a broken place? 

In the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2–12), Jesus urges us to set ourselves apart from the world, living in a counterculture with a new identity rooted in him. The Upside Down Kingdom examines this counterintuitive wisdom and explores its relevance for today. Drawing on insights from the biblical story of redemption, church fathers, Reformation scholars throughout history, and contemporary life, this book equips and encourages readers to get their spiritual bearings in an upside-down world. Author Chris Castaldo ultimately points readers to the kingdom of Christ—not as a set of rules, but as a means of bringing peace and blessing here and now.

  • Written for Laypersons and Teachers of the Word: Perfect for those interested in issues confronting the church 
  • Thorough Study of the Beatitudes: Each chapter explores a core teaching in Christ's Sermon on the Mount
  • Appeals to Pastors and Disciple Makers: A historically informed, biblically rich, and countercultural vision of Christian life

Read Chapter 1


Chris Castaldo

Chris Castaldo (PhD, London School of Theology) is the lead pastor at New Covenant Church in Naperville, Illinois. He is the author of Talking with Catholics about the Gospel and coauthor of The Unfinished Reformation.

Product Details

Title: The Upside Down Kingdom
Subtitle: Wisdom for Life from the Beatitudes
Published: July 18, 2023
ISBN-10: 1-4335-8491-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-8491-6
Category: Christian Living
Biblical Studies
Church Ministry
Retail Price: $18.99
Binding: Paperback
Trim: 5.25 in x 8.0 in
Page Count: 192

Table of Contents

Introduction: You Are Invited

Chapter 1: The Poverty That Makes One Rich
Chapter 2: When Loss Becomes Gain
Chapter 3: Gentleness in a Hostile World
Chapter 4: Taste and See
Chapter 5: The Face of Mercy
Chapter 6: Seeing God
Chapter 7: Peace Be with You
Chapter 8: Even So, Rejoice

Epilogue: When Down Is Up
General Index
Scripture Index


“G. K. Chesterton once defined a paradox as ‘truth standing on its head calling for attention.’ And this, most certainly, is what Chris Castaldo achieves as he deftly guides us through the inverted glories of the Beatitudes in The Upside Down Kingdom. His beautifully written exposition invites these eight compressed theological H-bombs to graciously detonate within our hearts. The Upside Down Kingdom is not only a treasure trove of wisdom; it’s also a bracing call to deeper devotion to Christ and the gospel.”
R. Kent HughesSenior Pastor Emeritus, College Church, Wheaton, Illinois

“What happens if we read the Beatitudes from a relentlessly biblical perspective that interprets them in terms of the unmerited grace God has offered us in Christ? What happens when we read them in terms of what God has done for us in Christ’s cross work, what he is doing in us by the Holy Spirit, and what he will do for the world through us? Chris Castaldo’s The Upside Down Kingdom startles us with the answers. Here is a book that equips us to be the world’s salt and light by helping us learn to live according to the ‘rhythms of heaven’ that beat in God’s own heart.”
Mark Talbot, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Wheaton College; author, Suffering and the Christian Life series

“To modern readers, the Beatitudes can sometimes sound confusing or even off-putting. Chris Castaldo does a lovely job demystifying Jesus’s teachings—and therefore making them truly beautiful—for Christians today. His explanations and examples are easy to grasp, giving context in a gentle and winsome way. This book would be perfect for a group Bible study or individual devotions—I read with my Bible on my lap, highlighting and making notes the whole way through.”
Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, Senior Writer, The Gospel Coalition; editor, Social Sanity in an Insta World

“I love this book. Thank you, Chris Castaldo, for the gift of The Upside Down Kingdom. This warm, engaging, and yet thought-provoking work wonderfully draws us to the vision of the Beatitudes. In the words of Castaldo, this is ‘a vision that invites us from the shadows of alienation into the purpose and joy of Christ's kingdom.’ Truly, when we embrace this counterintuitive vision and way of life, we will be portraits to a watching world of what it looks like to live according to God’s heart.”
Crawford W. Loritts Jr., speaker; radio host; author; Founder and President, Beyond Our Generation

“Chris Castaldo is a model pastor-theologian, and The Upside Down Kingdom puts his considerable pastoral and theological gifts on full display. Wise and winsome, subtle and profound, thought-provoking and heart-warming, his exposition of the Beatitudes captures the living voice of their original author and thus provides a tonic for the lackadaisical and a solace for the beleaguered—an invitation into Jesus’s upside-down kingdom. Beautifully done! Highly recommended!”
Todd Wilson, Cofounder and President, The Center for Pastor Theologians

“Chris Castaldo has issued a timely and desperately needed prophetic call for the church to embody the lordship of Jesus Christ in distinctly countercultural and counterintuitive ways within our increasingly polarized world. Incorporating depth of biblical-theological reflection, historical perspective, pastoral experience, and cultural sensitivity, with appropriate nuance and refreshing personal honesty, this book warmly invites us to experience the blessedness of identity in Christ as we align our affections and allegiances more fully with Christ and his kingdom. In a day of significant cultural confusion, The Upside Down Kingdom is a clarion call for Christian identity and ethic.”
Laurie L. Norris, Professor of Bible, Moody Theological Seminary; coeditor, One Volume Seminary: A Complete Ministry Education from the Faculty of Moody Bible Institute and Moody Theological Seminary

“The Beatitudes are a special part of the New Testament. Chris Castaldo’s excellent exposition brings them to life with the aid of real-life examples and the wisdom of the ages. A challenging and inspiring book that is recommended to all.”
Tony Lane, Professor of Historical Theology, London School of Theology

“I’ve learned a lot from Chris’s teaching and example of following Christ through the counterintuitive turn of the kingdom. And I’m thrilled that many more will benefit likewise with this book. When we realize the way up first goes down, then we'll find the power of God to overcome today’s challenges.”
Collin Hansen, Vice President and Editor in Chief, The Gospel Coalition; author, Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation