Should Christians be involved with the Enneagram?

What is an Enneagram? And should Christians be involved with it?

Firstly, no idols have any hold over us. Nothing which has a purportedly pagan background has a hold over us. All things were made by Him in this earth, and all days are the same. All things are lawful to us, but not all things are beneficial. So this is what we have to decide.

Remember Paul said if the people offering you the food offered to an idol say it is offered to an idol, you should refuse it. Not for your conscience but for theirs. The people who are using the Enneagram and promoting it are letting you know which gods, religions, and philosophies it represents. So maybe a better question is, “Are we mixing something worldly with truth, and using it to interpret the truth?”

How about we explore this together prayerfully?

Basics of the Enneagram

Some describe the Enneagram as a ‘complex study of psychology’ that ‘opens a pathway to self-discovery.’ Others liken it to a ‘system of personality which describes people in terms of nine types, each with their own motivations, fears, and internal dynamics. They divide those nine into three. Heart Types, Head Types and Body Types. A sort of horoscope personality test. And in taking this test it will let you know if you are the Reformer, the Helper, the Achiever, the Individualist, the Investigator, the Loyalist, the Enthusiast, the Challenger, or the Peacemaker. Many sites will also let you know which celebrity is your type. It supposedly guides you as to whether you are depending on your ‘emotional intelligence’, ‘intellectual or instinctual intelligence’ and more. You can even find ‘coaches’ or ‘guides’ online for it. Maybe we should spend time on desiring the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor 14:1). Or adding to our faith (2 Pet 1:5-9). Or esteeming others better than ourselves. Is this what these tests are doing or is it vainglory (Phil 2:3)? 

Listen friends, how coached up are you on the Word of God? How many more gimmicks does the Christian world need to ‘draw closer to God’? Doesn’t the Bible simply say if we will draw near to Him, He will draw near to us? (James 4:8)

Have you believed upon Him (Jesus Christ) as your Savior?

What does the Enneagram symbol represent?

I didn’t know much about this previously, except for I had seen it around and figured it was another fad like the love languages. As I started to do my research, I saw the Enneagram was represented by a symbol that appeared to me as somewhat of an inverted Pentagram3 mixed with other things. There is also a triangle in the center that they liken to the ‘Triadic nature’. Also also seems like maybe a unicursal hexagram2 thrown in. Sometimes ‘evangelicals’, ‘hypergrace‘ or ‘reformed’ put a cross in the middle of it — in an attempt I believe to Christianize it. It is shaped within a circle that they say represents “wholeness, unity and interconnectedness of all things”. This they call the ‘Law of One’. The ‘Law of Three’ goes ‘beyond dualism’ (black and white), and into being ‘open to more possibilities’. (Friends, do you see the implications here? Every man did what seemed right in his own eyes – Book of Judges). The hexade (the irregular hexagram shape within the Enneagram), represents the ‘Law of Seven’ appearing as ‘six symmetrical arms guided by arrows’

Man, all sorts of thoughts swirl through my head reading their explanations. The number six, the fiery darts of the enemy, the Masonic triangle. More man-made laws, New-agism, Panentheism, men’s philosophies, the occult. If it feels good, do it. Opening your eyes up to new things. Man becoming Deity (as you’ll come to see below).

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Col 2:8

What is the Enneagram supposed to do for you?

According to the purveyors of the Enneagram, it is ‘backed by Science’ (sound familiar?). They testify it has ‘helped over 25 million people’. After all, it has been seen on CNBC, Forbes & The Today Show. Surely this is a good thing?…

They claim it will help you in personal growth and according to Enneagram for Christians, it is a tool for Transformation, it will help you ‘find your purpose’ and ‘grow in your faith’. They tell you that you will ‘see with new eyes’ and ‘overcome your fears’. But Psalm 34:4 has a simpler remedy – Seek Him.

I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Dear, Dear friends. The Bible will help us grow personally and in faith (Acts 20:32; Rom 10:17). The Word of God is our tool for transformation, with the leading of the Holy Spirit as we apply our hearts to His wisdom and knowledge (Psalm 119:9-11, 130; Romans 12:2; Isaiah 55:10-11; Proverbs 22:17-21; 1 John 2:27).

What are the roots of the Enneagram?

Those who hawk the Enneagram admit its roots are in the Desert Fathers, Kabbalists, Sufi mystics, Pythagoreans, the Chaldeans, (Babylon) or other ancient groups. But one article said the first mention of the Enneagram was from a Russian occultist named P.D. Ouspensky who said he got it from his teacher (a Greek American occultist) named Georges Gurdjieff. The article continued to say the Enneagram was linked to personalities later by Occultist Oscar Ichazo. Ichazo said he received it from an Archangel named Metatron when he was high on mescaline.1 Psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo was known for using psychedelics, meditation, Gestalt therapy*, shamanism and hallucinogens in his ‘therapies’. *Gestalt therapy is a humanistic, self-centered psychotherapy.

When Naranjo and Ichazo teamed up, they shared stories of strange ‘experiences’ some of their patients were having, including the ‘telepathic’ and ‘shared consciousness’, along with ‘ecstatic experiences’.4 Of some of these (and their own experiences), Ichazo commented that “things happen when you are ‘on the path’.”

The spirit (baraka) of the Enneagram

The Occultist Ichazo, (who created the ‘personalities’ portion of the Enneagram), called his holy spirit ‘baraka’5 (I don’t capitalize it because it’s not the same spirit). He said he couldelevate others holy spirit to the strength of his own baraka.5

To me, this sounds like ‘the divine within’, or the ‘Divine presence‘ garbage that so many new agers teach. So I looked up baraka and the meaning.

Wikipedia says baraka is a kind of continuity of spiritual presence and revelation that begins with God and flows through that and those closest to God. Baraka can be found within >physical objects, places, and people, as chosen by God. This force begins by flowing directly from God into creation that is worthy of baraka. These creations endowed with baraka can then transmit the flow of baraka to the other creations of God through physical proximity or through the adherence to the spiritual practices of Muhammad.5  This is like wanting to buy and sell the Holy Spirit. This is panentheism. This is not truth.

Ichazo said the way of the Law’ was the same as the ‘way of the Prophets (no, not really). And he also said he was “on ‘the way of Grace’.” Sadly, I do not think so.

Mysticim and the Enneagram

In addition to occultists, there seems to be a fascination for the Enneagram in the Mystical and Contemplative movements. Roman Catholics, Jesuits and Franciscan friars like Richard Rohr, along with Benedictine nun Suzanne Zuercher promoted the Enneagram. Rohr wrote a book called The Enneagram and the Christian Perspective. It seems to be making the rounds in some within the hypergrace movement too, linking God’s grace to the Enneagram.

Evangelicals and the Enneagram

Some ‘evangelicals’ see this simply as a ‘personality tool’ they are not trying to ‘convert you to’, yet they have their own ‘Enneagram coaches’. A reformed teacher brought up John Calvin in the Institutes of the Christian Religion; quoting him saying we need “a knowledge of God and of ourselves.” He further recommended it by saying it makes ‘general sins specific to us.’ This same teacher identified the occultists listed above as ‘philosophers’. The Monks, Nuns and Contemplative/Mystical types he called ‘spiritual leaders’. There is not enough time left in this world to describe the error of these ‘spiritual leaders’.

What is the Danger of following this teaching?

Some feel the Enneagram is only a useful self-diagnostic tool. Others will claim the occult background is not accurate, however there are the original Occultist’s writings that contradict them. They may argue these things have no hold over us, and this would be right to a certain degree. But I’d like to ask these people though, do you want to see the Bible through the wrong dark glass? (reference to 1 Cor 13:12). From a self-centered perspective? Are their ways and laws founded in His judgment and truth? Or do they contradict His truth? Will error ever help guide us into all truth? Can error be mixed with truth and come out truth?

I can only highly recommend that you not get waylaid by what I believe to be error. It’s tempting to take these tests to find out what we’re like. But really, won’t His Word expose us to the light? Help us to discern between good and evil (Heb 5:12-14)? Spend time in His Word, the one thing that will never be taken from you. I can guarantee not one of you know His Word ‘backwards and forwards’ (yes I’ve been told that). Nor does it matter how many times you have read through the Bible, or how long you have been a Christian, that doesn’t commend you to me, only those who have a sincere love for His Word (2 Cor 10:12; 1 Cor 4:6; 2 Tim 1:13). It only matters whether you are humbled to Him, and He knows whether you are or not (1 Pet 5:5-7). Submitted to Him, studying with His approval as your desire (2 Tim 2:15). The Word has everything we need, it is not lacking (2 Tim 3:16-17). We all have to answer to Him. I’d like to point you to keep abiding in Him and continuing in His Word. The best choice we can all make (Luke 10:38-42).

Friend, why do you desire to know what your image is? Aren’t we supposed to be conformed into His?

Love in Christ.

If you are not sure where your destination is when you die, watch this:

Footnotes: No recommendations, just for reference for certain citations

1 – The FAQs: What Christians Should Know About the Enneagram (thegospelcoalition.org)

2 – Unicursal hexagram – Wikipedia

3 – Inverted-pentagram Definitions | What does inverted-pentagram mean? | Best 1 Definitions of Inverted-pentagram (yourdictionary.com)

4 – What is an ecstatic experience? – Aquarius Age

5 – Barakah – Wikipedia

 

6 Responses to “Should Christians be involved with the Enneagram?

  • John Lyon
    3 weeks ago

    Holly, I find myself constantly saying “amen” when I read your articles! Your points are so true – God’s word is what we need – but I think there is a dearth of it in Church today, where sermons reference part “a” of a verse, and the rest is psychology, and one must never have a Sunday School class on a book of the Bible (that would be boring, right?) but a video series that is more like Aesop’s Fables with good moral teachings devoid of Christ! This may be a bit snarky, but one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes was when Jerry’s dentist makes a bad Jewish joke, and asks Jerry if it offended him as a Jew. He answers and says “no, it offends me as a comedian!” These strange things brought up in church probably do have a sinister side, but before I even get to the Christian criticism, my first take is “how on earth did this idea even enter your mind?” I mean, if you just open the Bible a little each day and read, what verse triggers the “let’s do a personality test (since Paul encourages the Corinthians to do it), slap a Pentagram on the front like a Led Zeppelin album cover, and let’s go at it!” impulse in a person?!?! It bothers me as an English reader and as a hopefully logical thinker so badly, I really can’t even get to a Biblical response! In closing though, we should always exclusively trust a PROMISE OF GOD. You quoted so many beautiful verses from our Lord that we can cling to. They can take their mildly Satanic introspective test, but I will take “Do you see the man who fears the Lord? He (God) will instruct him in the way he should choose”. John

    • John, I’m always encouraged when you come to comment. Your Kramer joke made me smile, and made me think that I believe what they miss is they are not slightly offended for the Lord. For His truth to remain. There is so much of a lack of God’s Word, the churches have adapted to tickle the ears, and they have no meat, maybe some milk on the table, but mainly a mishmash of teachings. The last church I left, was sad. An offshoot of my childhood Bible church. They had grown and the elders were Calvinist/charismatic (Wayne Grudem) and mystical, one promoted the Mess-AGE ‘bible in contemporary language’ (no, false bible in new-age occult like language). They had some Rick Warren Purpose Drivel entering in the mind-body-spirit type stuff. And a blend of people like Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, whatever made them feel good.

      Their Bible covers are dusty and stiff. Or if they read them, seems to be more of an open and point and claim that verse for the day. I’m not sitting in judgment of them, at least not in the respect I do not care. I care a great deal. The truth would set them free. But I think a lot never started in the Word, let alone continued in it. But Luke 10:38-42 has always been like a key passage for me when I finally ‘saw’ what He said there. What Mary was doing (spending time at the feet of Jesus hearing His Word). And how that would never be taken from her. So true. And it is what set me free after I became apathetic to the church life. Back in the world. Still in this world, but things are different because of His truth. And that’s where I want to point others. There is hope, there is life and much power in His Word. It will penetrate and divide even our soul/spirit and discern the thoughts and intents of our heart. People need to remember He magnifies His Word above His name, and His name is extremely important to Him.

      In His Word we get that instruction, wisdom, understanding, so much treasure there. God speaks to us from His Word. I pray for my kids all the time that they would desire His Word. Thank you for the last verse John. All of His promises to us are precious, and comforting. He saw to it ahead of time (Rom 15:4). Love in Christ, Holly

  • Stephen Conte
    3 weeks ago

    Holly, I fully agree with your article on the enneagram. Being derived from Sufi Islam it is purportedly “monotheistic”, which makes it attractive to New Age seekers with a Christian background, persons who are put off by the idolatry and pantheism of the eastern religions. But the problems of the enneagram are not at all offset by a superficial “monotheism”. Allah is not the God of the Bible.

    Like all forms of divination the enneagram seems to yield insights applicable to the individual. But these insights stem from ambiguity of terminology, a characteristic shared also with astrology. True clarity comes not by practice of techniques but from the light of God’s written word, the Bible. in His word God speaks individually to real people made in His image, not to constructs and abstractions of four, five, seven, or nine “types”. Consulting the enneagram dishonors God and man, and it has no place in the life of a Bible Christian.

    • Stephen, this is an excellent comment, and one I would like to insert in the article also (with your approval). Thank you for coming to comment.

      • Stephen Conte
        3 weeks ago

        Holly, thank you for your kind words. Of course you may use my comment in any way. Thank you for your great work here.

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