Why is Faith Based Investing Important

Each of us have a core set of personal values, which act as a guide for our actions. We do not all share identical sets of values, but for most Christians there is a wide expanse of common ground. Christian values are based on our faith in Jesus Christ and God's written word, the Bible. When making decisions in life, it is our values and beliefs that guide our actions. We act according to those values and beliefs. Why should it be any different regarding investment decisions? One of the most common vehicles of investment today is the buying and selling of stock?

The term "stock" is short for "stock certificate". It refers to the document used as evidence or proof of ownership in a corporation. Stock certificates state the name of the company, the number of shares the certificate represents, name of the person, date of issue, the cusip number, and other information required by the law in force.

For a Christian, it is essential to understand that owning stock means you are an owner in a company. The more stock you own, the larger your ownership of that corporation. As an owner you participate in the profits made from the activities of the company. You also have certain rights such as are represented by the type and amount of stock you own. Voting rights or the influence regarding leadership and control of certain activities of a company is one common right. Because you are an owner/participator in the profits you also are a participator in the activities of the company. When you buy stock, you are effectively partnering with all the other stock owners in that company. Though you may not be held directly responsible for the actions of the company, as a minority stock holder, you are a participant just the same. For the Christian investor it is important to know that the company in which you own stock, not only is legal and ethical, but is also biblically moral.

Having ownership in a biblically moral company can be such a blessing. Not only is there the potential of sharing in the profits of the company in proportion to your percentage of ownership, but you can also feel good knowing that the company in which you own shares is doing good for mankind.

The same unfortunately is true on the other side of the formula. If the company you own creates, distributes, markets, and/or promotes products that are clearly offensive to Biblical values, then you have the regrettable misfortune of participating in these activities, through stock ownership in that company. Examples of such products, services or activities that most Christians would agree as being sinful, immoral or offensive to God include:

  • Embryonic stem-cell research
  • Pornography
  • Prostitution
  • Abortion
  • Addictive products
  • Anti-Christian, anti-God, entertainment and publication
  • Gambling

The question for us to ask ourselves is this: “Do I believe a Christian should be a business owner in industries that clearly are in opposition to Biblical teachings? When we own stock in a company that develops, distributes or promotes such products or services we are passively participating in Biblically offensive activities.

To illustrate this point more clearly let's pretend there is company that makes a 100% return each year for its stock owners. Most people would love to have their investment portfolio full of this type of stock. But when upon closer scrutiny we find that the company’s profits come from sex tourism, exploiting children in Thailand, we may feel differently about participating in this company’s profits.

Some stock owners may argue that they did not exploit or destroy the children's lives who were enslaved to prostitution and pornography. They just invested in a company. But remember that when you buy stock in a company you are showing financial support for the activities of that company. You are endorsing with your money the services of that company and are profiting directly from the abuse of these children. A stock owner may be a passive participant, but a participant just the same.

So, why is the knowledge of Faith-Based Biblically Responsible Investing important to a Christian? If we believe the Bible to be the word of God, then we can look there to see what it has to say:

Ephesians 5:11 (NKJV) "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”

2 Cor. 6:14 (NKJV) "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?" 

Psalm 1:1 (NKJV) "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;" 

1 Pet 1:13 - 16 (NKJV) Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." 

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV) “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

The good news is that many companies do not participate in such items or services. Yet we must still be careful. 

A company can do many things with the profits it generates from its business activities. They could be used to expand the business, develop new products or they could be distributed to the stock holders in the form of dividends. A corporation, just like an individual, can also make charitable gifts of its cash flows giving financial support to organizations the controlling stockholders believe are worthy. If you own stock in a company that gives money to organizations that promote or provide products, services or influences to sinful activities, you have, as a partial owner in that company participated in the funding of those products, services or influential activities. 

The bottom line is, as a Christian, I am to care for my neighbor, put others before myself, turn away from sin including sexual immorality, drunkenness, greed, laziness, gluttony, murder, stealing....

1 Cor. 15:33b (NKJV) "Evil company corrupts good habits." 

By owning stock in a company that produces, provides, or promotes Biblically offensive activities, I am participating in these sinful activities. 

  • If these activities cause others to sin, I as a stock owner of that company am responsible for causing such stumbling.
  • If the company’s value increases because my stock purchase and that of others bid the stock up, then we have contributed to the growth of a company that is offensive to God.
  • If such companies give financial donations to organizations involved in Biblically offensive activities, I have participated in funding the enemies of God.

Why is Faith-based Biblically Responsible Investing important? If we desire our lives as Christians to be honoring to God, then our actions should not compromise that objective.

Every action we take is either an act of worship or an act of rebellion against the one true God.

It is because of this belief that I feel that we should invest our money in such a way that seeks to please and glorify God as an act of worship.