The Enneagram Redefines Sin

“Today’s secularism is an aggressive bulldozer. It will not tolerate any competition, pushing aside any opposition to its reign. Arrogantly, it believes that it can retain the benefits of Western civilization, while discarding its foundation – Christianity.”   Daniel Mann

It is a sad state of affairs that many so-called Christian Churches are notorious for following the whims of the culture.  One of the latest fads is Enneagram, pronounced any-a-gram, which seems to be receiving a rather warm reception on a number of blogs and evangelical media outlets with articles like:  What all Christians Need to know About the Enneagram, and The Never Ending Quest to Know Ourselves.  In particular, Christianity Today has been a frequent advocate of the Enneagram.  The promise of its Christian promoters is that it will “help” transform the Believer into the image and likeness of Christ.  Crazy me – I’ve always believed that was the purpose of God’s Word.

The Enneagram is basically a personality test that proponents claim describes the basic archetypes of humanity’s tragic flaws, sin tendencies, primary fears, and unconscious needs. Supports tout it as a “sacred map to our soul,” a blueprint, if you will, “for developing character” that each of us already has but doesn’t acknowledge until we “discover our type” through the personality test.

The modern Enneagram System used today was designed by Claudio Naranjo, a Chilean Psychiatrist, who openly admitted that he got all of his information about the nine personality types from doing automatic writing and trance channeling.  He taught the Enneagram at Esalon, a New Age center in California.  Among his students were several Jesuit priests who began to incorporate it into their counseling and personal lives, which resulted in it rapidly spreading among Catholics.

Some proponents of the Enneagram attribute it to the Desert Fathers, Kabbalists, Sufi mystics, Pythagoreans, the Chaldeans, or other ancient groups, which is impossible to prove. 

The earliest mention of the Enneagram is found in the writings of the Russian occultist P. D. Ouspensky, who attributes his knowledge to his teacher, the Greek American occultist Georges I. Gurdjieff, who considered it a symbol of the cosmos.  It was a later occultist, Oscar Ichazo, who connected it to personality. Ichazo claimed to have discovered the true meaning of Enneagram when it was taught to him by the Archangel Metration while he was high on mescaline.  Gurdjieff’s “discovery” was then passed to another occultist Claudio Naranjo, a Chilean born psychiatrist.

In the 1970s, students of Naranjo spread the Enneagram to various Catholic communities, especially in mystical and contemplative circles. Some of the promoters of the Enneagram include the former Jesuit Don Riso, the Franciscan friar Richard Rohr, and late Benedictine nun Suzanne Zuercher.  In 1997, Riso co-founded the Enneagram Institute. 

Enneagram theories of personality are based on esoteric teaching and occult worldviews.  Its origin and purpose is nothing more than to initiate a Gnostic spiritual awakening to one’s divine self which is in itself an occult New Age teaching.

Gnosticism was a secret-knowledge heresy that has plagued Christianity for centuries, passed down by cults and occult groups.   In a book trailer of The Sacred Enneagram, author Chris Heuertz  claims that the Enneagram “found me” and gave me “clarity” on “what it looks like to find our way home.” He writes that the Enneagram is “misunderstood” when used as a personality test “to describe quirks and traits of people’s individuality, because it goes much further than mere caricatures.”  According to Heuertz the Enneagram explains the why of how we think, act, and feel.  It helps us come to terms with our gifts as well as the addictive patterns that tether us to our greatest interpersonal, spiritual and emotional challenges,” that helps us find “our way back to God. 

Rather than help Christians become closer to God, the Enneagram redefines sin, among other fundamental concepts, by simply associating faults with personality types, which is particularly tempting in a cultural climate of irresponsibility and narcissism. It encourages an unhealthy self-absorption about one’s own “type,” so that the type is at fault rather than the person. This gives rise to a deterministic mindset at odds with Christian freedom.

 “The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law and the surest pledge of freedom.”  Alexis de Tocqueville

Source:  The FAQs: What Christians Should Know About the Enneagram by Joe Carter,  TGC;  The Enneagram And Inner Healing – Psycho-Heresy In The Church by Dr. Craig Nelson; The New American Morality, the Trumpet;  What is the ‘Enneagram,’ and why are Christians suddenly so enamored by it?, Religious News Service.

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