Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI)
What is Biblically Responsible Investing?
The Christian Investment Forum defines Biblically Responsible Investing this way:
“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.”
And 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 BRI: it's a way to 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 BRI starts to become extremely compelling. God owns it all and we are merely stewards.
Fact 2: Investing in a stock means Being an Owner of That Company
"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
In addition, if you own mutual funds and ETFs, you have small ownership positions in many different companies.
Fact 3: We are 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
Proverbs 3:9 is pretty straightforward: we're called to honor God with the wealth he has entrusted to our care.
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.
How to Implement Biblically Responsible Investing
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 should avoid investing in companies that intentionally harm others for the sake of profit. We can weed out these companies using BRI screening software. In addition, through research and fundamental analysis we can look to invest in companies that seek to create value and have positive impact for all stakeholders. This helps align your investment portfolio with scripture and gives you peace of mind that you are not profiting from the abuses of 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.