What is the Enneagram, and why are Churches using it?
MattS AMTM January 2019 Part 21 (heresy and false teachings)
I was in the throes of writing another article, and within the space of a day the word “Enneagram” came up three or four times. I had heard this word before in the context of my work in mental health and also in relation to Churches using whatever “Enneagram” was. It very much piqued my interest, because in reality, I had no idea what “Enneagram” was.
John Haller spoke of it in his weekly update, I saw the word in a blog column and then I listened to the AMTM program Tony had done with Marcia Montenegro (excellent program by the way). I had had some dialogue with Paul Benson of the “Let’s Get It Right” website and blog around “Contemplative Prayer”, and again the idea that Satan is messing with concepts and definitions of words and beliefs hit home to me. Paul puts it so well in his Contemplative Prayer PART 1: Is It Really Prayer?article with a heading that says ” The Genuine Has Been Counterfeited!”. This is what Satan does! He counterfeits anything good by quietly and subtly changing definitions of good godly things, scriptural concepts, God’s Word. Satan has done this because he has had the time to do it, and he knows that we as human beings are lazy, and are pretty bad at fact checking.
When I looked up “Enneagram” I realised that I was to some degree familiar with what it was, but did not know much about its origins and original purposes. Well!! was I in for a shock.
Marcia Montenegro gave an amazing description of “Enneagram” in the program with Tony and Marcia is an amazing source of information on the New Age. Marcia was part of this movement for some 20 years and now works in Church ministry associated with education on the dangers of the New Age, her website is “Christian Answers For The New Age“. Marcia’s website has a wealth of information on the New Age, and she gives stark warning about how this movement is making its way not only into the secular world, but also into the Church.
I had been aware of “Enneagram” as a type of personality profiling with my work in mental health. There are lots of different types of personality profiling systems out there, so I never really took much notice of it. I was also aware that it was being used in “Team Days” by employer groups to show where you fit into the “Team Dynamic”.
By the way, I am not against learning about personality types. I believe that there are different personality types that God has given us and that He uses those personality strengths to compliment the things He has purposed for us. I often see married couples of very different personality types working so very well together. Moses and Aaron are a classic Biblical example of how personality may have been used by God to achieve His purposes. Moses the Introvert and Aaron the Extrovert, or something like that. However I do not believe we all fit into neat little boxes (I used to believe this, but have changed my mind).
What is “ENNEAGRAM”, and where does it come from?
I thought “Enneagram” was just another personality profiling system, in that assumption I was a little right, but in another way, so very wrong.
It turns out that Marcia Montenegro has done some great research on “Enneagram” and had had some personal experience with this practice. So I will refer to some of her work in this article.
So, back to what “Enneagram” is?
“Enneagram” is in its basic form is a personality test or analysis tool, it has 9 personality aspects, (as always, a picture is worth a thousand words)
1. The Reformer (The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and a Perfectionist)
2. The Helper (The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive)
3. The Achiever (The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious)
4. The Individualist (The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental)
5. The Investigator (The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated)
6. The Loyalist (The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious)
7. The Enthusiast (The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered)
8. The Challenger (The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Wilful, and Confrontational)
9. The Peacemaker (The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent)
This chart and corresponding list of the personalities traits and their attributes are nothing unusual when looking at personality groups or tests. However it when you look a little more closely at where these ideas were developed, and their intended purpose, things start to get a wee bit muddy.
From my reading, it is unclear where “Enneagram” actually came from and who originally developed it (a little like the Emerald Tablets). No one actually knows who developed it, and there are a few groups given credit for its formation, such as the ancient Egyptians, the Desert Fathers (early Christian Gnostic mystics, Evagrius Ponticus), or even the Sufis (Muslim mystics). However what is known is that there are some men who really picked up on the use the “Enneagram” in the 20th century. There are three men whose names come up on a regular basis,Oscar Ichazo,Claudio Naranjo, George Gurdjieff and a fourth man, a contemporary figure that comes up a lot, and that is Richard Rohr.
George Gurdjieff (deceased in 1949) is credited with bringing the “Enneagram” into common thinking with his idea called the “Fourth Way“. After the death of Gurdjieff, a student of his, PD Ouspensky popularised the idea with a book called “The Fourth Way“.
Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo (a student of Ichazo), were influenced by Gurdjieff and were credited with developing the current “Enneagram” personality profile tool that exists today, more particularly Oscar Ichazo.
For Gurdjieff, Ichazo and Naranjo, it appears that the “Enneagram” was much more than just a personality profiling tool. For them it was an instrument of spiritual enlightenment. It was intended as a means for the user to go deep into spiritual experience and find inner knowledge and spiritual advancement. Gurdjieff taught that “most humans do not possess a unified consciousness, and thus live their lives in a state of hypnotic “waking sleep”, but that it is possible to awaken to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential.” Gurdjieff’s method for awakening one’s consciousness unites the methods of the fakir, monk and yogi, and thus he referred to it as the “Fourth Way”. Ichazo and Naranjo adapted Gurdjieff’s ideas, and as mentioned, Ichazo formulated the modern “Enneagram”. Naranjo used and adapted and further developed this as the “Enneagram of Personality“.
By the way I found this little gem from this particular article. It seems that Ichazo was in contact with the spirit world when he received his revelations on “Enneagram”, here is a quote from this article as follows;
“Ichazo claimed to have discovered the personality type meaning of the enneagram while in some kind of ecstatic state or trance under the influence of some spirit or angelic being: the
Archangel Gabriel, the “Green Qu’Tub,”26or Metatron, the prince of the archangels (the accounts vary).27The training offered at Ichazo’s Arica Institute includes preparation for and means of contacting various higher beings, such as Metatron, with whom Ichazo himself has been in contact.28One of the aims of training offered at Ichazo’s Arica Institute is to put the advanced student into contact with an interior master, the “Green Qu’Tub,” which is expected to occur at some point in their development.“
What is the PURPOSE of the “ENNEAGRAM”?
In brief, the “Enneagram” in common usage today appears to be a tool comprised of 9 personality types that are interconnected. The diagram showing the 9 point star shows this interconnectedness. Used in the area of business, the personality type and analysis of these, shows how each of the 9 personalities interact within the dynamics of a team (personality strengths etc).
More importantly it was primarily developed as a tool of spiritual enlightenment, a technique to put one on a path to higher being, self awareness and enlightenment. Interestingly, numbers and multiples of 3 seem to be important as is the number 9. From an occult perspective, 3 and multiples of 3 are very significant, as is the number 9 . Marcia Montenegro goes into much more detail with her extremely well written and researched article “The Enneagram GPS: Gnostic Path To Self“. Marcia looks at the “Sacred Geometry” aspect of “Enneagram and how this leads into or in her words initiates one into occult thinking.
On the “Enneagram Institute” website (yes, there is an ‘Enneagram Institute”), on the history page it describes how the use of the Enneagram” is a mystical, spiritual experience designed to improve one’s self development. Marcia points out that this becomes a self focus (self absorption) and is primarily Gnostic in its process of “self enlightenment”. The history page is also littered with what I call “psychobabble” that lends a professional academic credibility to the processes of “Enneagram”.
What are Churches and Church ministries doing using “Enneagram” in their programs?
I can understand to some degree why churches might use simple personality education tools for folks in the Churches. I’m not against this. I believe there is value in learning about your own personality type (and yes there are different personality types) and also learning about other personality types and understanding things from their perspective. Some types of people do better in leadership roles and some do better administrative or practical roles. We, as individuals have strengths and weaknesses and God has given us our own distinctive personality, however why would a Church ministry choose “Enneagram”? Back to Richard Rohr.
Richard is a Franciscan friar ordained as a priest into the Catholic Church in 1970. Richard has been an avid promoter of “Enneagram” and although the Catholic Church has been unwilling to embrace “Enneagram” Rohr has continued to promote his ideas along with Marianne Williamson a close friend of Oprah!! (beware Americans Marianne is looking to run in the 2020 presidential race) and Williamson is a proponent of the infamous “A Course in Miracles“. Rohr and Williamson promote many New Age ideas and Rohr is an open advocate of the LBGTRETQ*$%!@+…… movement. Rohr has written a book on “Enneagram” and actively promotes it at conferences.
So where does this all go…………………….
In my wanderings I came across this “beauty” … “Enneagramatic Kything Prayer” from this article from Lighthouse Trails, I researched some of the information from the article and found this article on Kything Prayer. It sounds more like a contemplative necromancy. Thearticlefrom ehird.com quotes Barbara Metz, SND and John Burchill, OP as saying;
“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“
I could not source this quote, however, if you come across “Enneagramatic Kything Prayer“, “FLEE”as far from it as you possibly can, as it is simply “necromancy” or spirit contact in disguise.
This, very sadly, is where “Enneagram” can go……………………..
As stated, I don’t have an issue with learning about different personalities, this can be useful to us all. The issue I have with the Enneagram is that it takes us away from using the Bible, the Word of God as our source of spiritual guidance in matters that are spiritual, relational and interpersonal. It moves us away from prayer and from seeking the gift of discernment from the Holy Spirit. As you can see from my research and the research others have done, “Enneagram” has an occult, non Biblical root. “Enneagram” in its basic form is a complex personality profiling and analytical tool, however it is so much more than that. It would seem that those involved in developing this tool were personally involved in occult practice, it also appears to have been channelled by Spirit beings that were not identified of God but had angelic titles, fallen angels possibly?
Satan likes to take something that seems innocent and seemingly innocuous, and inject it into the Christian Church. Folks will think that because a Church ministry is using “Enneagram”, it is okay. This in turn may expose people to further occult issues, especially if they follow the teachings of Richard Rohr.
Does Christendom and the Church need “Enneagram”? From my perspective, I do not think it does. There are good and smart Christian folks out there capable of developing Bible based programs to support education on working with others, if there is good leadership and pastoral care in Churches, they will be working with folks to see how they can fit in to Church life, it is all about the way the Bible instructs us to care for, and love one another.
Why bring in something that has occult roots, is Gnostic in nature, is possibly channelled by demonic spirits or worse, has no basis in scripture, and may lead people into error at the least, and demonic influence at the worst.
RESEARCH. (The author of this article may not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the research material)