“Definition of Enneagram: System of spiritual psychology based on an ancient Sufi [Islamic mysticism] typology of nine personality types or primary roles with the recognition of one’s type tantamount to a spiritual awakening” from Alternative Health Dictionary
Recently, Lighthouse Trails has received numerous inquiries from readers about the Enneagram because of it being used in their churches or by Christians with whom they are acquainted. Below, we are posting some various items we have on file regarding the Enneagram. We hope they provide enough information to cause any believer to stay away from the Enneagram (or to at least do further research before utilizing it). The first item is a letter to the editor we received a couple years ago that will help illustrate the problem.
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I wanted to write and share with you yet another example of church leadership embracing New Age methods. Recently, an acquaintance on Facebook posted a link to an Enneagram chart happily reporting her number and encouraging others to contact her if they want to know more about the Enneagram. What concerned me the most is that this acquaintance is the wife of a pastor of a young, but rapidly growing church in our area. Though not familiar with the Enneagram, I knew it likely had mystic / New Age origins by its very description. It broke my heart that a pastor’s wife would encourage such a thing. A day after her post, and after researching it for myself, I reached out to her privately warning her of its roots. I encouraged this pastor’s wife that God’s Word is enough and then hoped for a gracious response.
Her response was quick and indeed gracious, but defended their use of the Enneagram by explaining how they have looked at several resources tying what the Enneagram reveals back to the Gospel and that they were using it much like the Myers-Briggs or other personality type system to learn more about each other in order to build one another up.
Sadly, that is how so many of these New Age ideas enter even the conservative church. Someone somewhere at some point put a Christian spin on such an idea, wraps it up in attractive packaging, and tags it “christian.” And the young, hip, “relevant” pastors / leaders gobble it up. All discernment thus goes out the window. For the discerner, it is both sad and frustrating.
I did reply back to my acquaintance and gently yet firmly challenged her that if they were indeed just using the Enneagram as a personality test such as the Myers-Briggs, why not then just use the Myers-Briggs? Why use something that opens up the door to other mystic / occult type practices that seekers or young-in-faith believers might choose to explore?
She never replied back.
This is yet another reminder of how Satan is the master of deceit and confusion. What better way to continue to destroy the church by “innocently” introducing things that seem otherwise “harmless”? Both leaders and lay people need to be courageous at speaking up and warning others about such practices and reject them unequivocally.
The following is an excerpt of an article written by Mike Oppenheimer:
Enneagram claims to be an entry point for deep personal healing and renewal. Enneagram is a psychological and spiritual system for a higher consciousness. We are told it will help us understand the personality types and the differences in each other which should reduce unnecessary conflicts (transforming one into a more tolerant person). We can transform our habits by being our own observer in how we think and go from unconscious behavior to conscious behavior. This is done through a series of probing questions called a PERSONALITY PROFILE questionnaire where one learns what his or her type is.
The Enneagram symbol is a nine-pointed, star-like figure. The nine lines comprise a perfect triangle and a twisted hexagon contained within a circle. This is a New Age type mandala, a mystical gateway to personality classification. The drawing is based upon a belief in the mystical properties of the numbers 7 and 3. (source)
Excerpt from an Article by Ed Hird:
Enneagram and the Occult
Gurdjieff’s work led to the formation of the New-Age cult, Arica, founded by his disciple Oscar Ichazo. It was Ichazo and his colleague Claudio Naranjo (an instructor at the Esalen Institute) who together developed the Enneagram in the 1960s as an indicator of personality in its current form.(14) Naranjo merged the Enneagram with 9 of Freud’s 10 personality defense mechanisms….
Barbara Metz, SND, and John Burchill, OP, recommend the Enneagram as a way of engaging in “kything prayer”. Kything Prayer can be done with any other person, present or absent, dead or alive, whose Enneagramic reading ‘moves against your numerical arrows’. The key is to “let your center find itself within the person with whom you are kything” and to “Picture yourself within the [other] person.” An alternative form of Enneagramic kything is to “invite the other person’s spirit into themselves.”(19) One may very well ask how appropriate it is for Christians to be inviting the spirits of the dead into themselves. Does this not slide into occultic channeling/mediumistic practices that are clearly forbidden by Holy Scripture?(20) Is it enough for Enneagram advocates like Jim Scully of Pecos Abbey to say “that ‘occult’ and ‘satanic’ are not synonyms? God told me back in 1979 that the greatest issue facing the Church in the 1990’s would be the deception of inter-faith syncretism. Maybe it is time for us as Anglicans and Christians to truly wake up and repent of our syncretistic mixing of Christ and the occult, of good and evil, of truth and deception, of light and darkness. “Gurdjieff and the Enigmatic Enneagram” by Ed Hird, Anglican Renewal Ministries of Canada
An article from The Berean Call
Are You My Type? The Enneagram Catches on with Christians
The Enneagram came to the United States in the 1970s, where it initially caught on among Catholic seminarians and priests and became a tool for spiritual formation.
In its present form, the Enneagram includes nine personality types, or numbers, illustrated by a nine-pointed geometric figure. (The term Enneagram comes from the Greek words meaning “nine” and “drawing” or “figure.”) Each, at its worst, is tied to one of the deadly sins – plus two more traits that have been added in.
A person’s “type” is determined by self-examination; the goal being to better understand oneself – and one’s strengths, weaknesses and tendencies – and those of others.
But it may not be as modern as it sounds, or as alien to the faith as some might fear. In fact, some trace the Enneagram to a fourth-century Christian monk and ascetic named Evagrius, whose teaching later influenced the formation of the seven deadly sins, according to Cron and Stabile. Others detect elements of the Enneagram within Sufism and Judaism. (source)