David Bahnsen has a long list of roles and accomplishments.
But the certified financial planner; founder, managing partner and chief investment officer of The Bahnsen Group, a private wealth management firm; one of Barron’s top 1,200 advisors; Forbes top 250 advisors; and Financial Times top 300 advisors in America, simply describes himself as “a Christian economist and financial advisor.”
His latest book, “There’s No Free Lunch,” examines 250 bite-sized connections between a market economy and human, God-given creativity.
“I think there are a lot of people that have opinions about economics sort of intuitively. There are a lot of people who have faith in the Christian worldview,” Bahnsen explained. “But I don’t think there are a lot of people that connect those things together intentionally.
“And I want them to,” he said. “I want them to understand how the Christian worldview is very aligned with the notion of a free economy, and to provide a biblical understanding of how those things work.”
Defending free enterprise
While young Christians might feel that free markets are for greedy individuals, equating them with corruption, Bahnsen believes free enterprise should be defended.
“I don’t so much believe that a lot of young people love socialism as much as they hate capitalism,” he said. “I’m hoping my book can help provide a better way of thinking about it that will scratch those emotional and spiritual itches to see a better way.”
Bahnsen noted a popular quote: “If a person is not a liberal when he is 20, he has no heart; if he is not a conservative when he is 40, he has no head.” But Bahnsen is adamant that liberalism does not relate to how much heart a person has.
“We need to reassert the heart as the driving force of why we believe in freedom, of why we believe in opportunities in society,” he urged. “That’s the argument I make in the book, that ultimately God made the world and made us all with dignity.”
Finance and economics are not evil
Growing up as a “PK” (preacher’s kid), Bahnsen said his father had a major influence on his worldview.
“[My father] died very young, and I did not get to spend my adult years with him. But throughout my young adult years, he was my hero, my best friend and my biggest influence. My desire to incorporate Christian thinking into what I did professionally and vocationally entirely came from him,” Bahnsen said.
This mindset led to one of his main beliefs — that finance and economics are not evil and that God created them.
“I think God made the world with potential. He created all the raw materials, the natural resources — but then He said to mankind, ‘I made you special. I made you with dignity. Go out and bring the potential out of this creation.’ That’s what we’ve been doing for thousands of years,” Bahnsen noted.
“There’s No Free Lunch” is not an exhaustive textbook on economy. Instead, it includes 250 quotes from master economists, along with a one-paragraph commentary from Bahnsen concerning economic principles.
“Writing [the book] definitely reinforced for me how much incredible wisdom there is in the last few hundred years of Christian economists,” he said. “In a lot of ways, the book is not intending to say anything new, but is intending to re-say things that have already been said but that we’ve gotten away from.”
“There’s No Free Lunch” is available at retailers such as Amazon, Apple Books, and Barnes and Noble.