What is Biblically Responsible Investing?
Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) goes by many names. It's also called Morally Responsible Investing, Faith Based Investing, and Christian Investing, among others.
The Christian Investment Forum defines Biblically Responsible Investing like this:
“BRI is an investment decision making process that applies Christian values to issues facing shareholders and stakeholders regarding moral and social principles. This coupled with traditional financial analysis provides a platform for investment decisions that allows us to be faithful stewards of God’s gifts and respect the foundational beliefs of our shared Christian faith.”
Kingdom Advisors, an organization for Christian financial professionals defines it as:
"Investing that seeks to please and glorify God as a vital act of worship."
Both definitions encompass the crux of Biblical investing; it's a way for Christian investors to integrate our faith with our finances and honor the Lord with our wealth.
The Case for Biblically Responsible Investing
Fact 1: Everything is God's, including our wealth
"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him." -Psalm 24:1
The stewardship mindset flows directly from this truth. It's only once we wrap our arms around this concept that Biblical investing starts to become extremely compelling. God owns it all and we are merely stewards.
Fact 2: Stock investing equates to ownership
"Holding a company's stock means that you are one of the many owners (shareholders) of a company and, as such, you have a claim (albeit usually very small) to everything the company owns. As an owner, you are entitled to your share of the company's earnings as well as any voting rights attached to the stock." -Investopedia
When we buy stocks, mutual funds, or ETFs, we're taking ownership stakes in businesses. Therefore, we are supporting and profiting from the activities of the businesses we own in our investment portfolios.
Fact 3: We're called to use our wealth for the glory of God
"Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops." -Proverbs 3:9
This verse from Proverbs is pretty straightforward: we're called to honor God with the wealth he has entrusted to our care.
So if we know that everything is God's and that stock investing constitutes ownership, then how do we honor God with our investments?
For one, we can avoid investing in companies that intentionally harm others for the sake of profit. In addition, through research and fundamental analysis we can invest in companies that seek to create value and have positive impact for all stakeholders. This approach helps align our investment portfolio with scripture and gives us peace of mind that we are not profiting from the abuses of others.
Through our investments, if we own companies that profit from the weaknesses and addictions of others, we're taking advantage of the very same people God calls us to love. At the heart of it, Biblically Responsible Investing is about loving God and loving others.
In summary, because we are called to honor God through the stewardship of our wealth, we should not be using God’s resources to bring harm to others, but rather seek out investments in companies that positively impact others. If we do so, we are investing to the glory of God, and investing itself becomes an act of worship.
Implementing Biblically Responsible Investing
Biblically Responsible Investing has been around for decades, but it's only recently started gaining traction with investors and advisors. In fact, what started as a small movement has grown into something much bigger with billions of dollars currently allocated to Biblically Responsible Investing strategies. Also, there are more BRI mutual funds and ETFs available today than ever before.
As an investor considering implementing Biblically Responsible Investing, it can be difficult to know where to start.
If you work with a financial advisor, start a conversation with him or her. Many advisors are still unaware of this concept and would welcome the discussion. If your advisor is not open to the concept of Biblically Responsible Investing, please contact us and we'll put you in touch with a professional advisor who uses BRI for their clients.