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.
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.
“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 Hughes, Senior 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