A heartfelt Thank You to Marcia Montenegro, Jay Medenwaldt, Alisa Childers, Krista Bontrager, Melissa Dougherty, CRI, Dr. Christopher Berg, Dr. Rhenn Cherry, Midwest Christian Outreach, Cultish (Apologia Studios), Women in Apologetics, Steven Bancarz, Sean McDowell, Unbelievable with Justin Brierley, Fr Mitch Pacwa, Doreen Virtue, Dr. Douglas Groothuis, Brandon Medina, and Apologetics315 for all of the research they have undertaken regarding this topic! Some of their resources are shared below.
- What is the Ennegram?
- Enneagram Timeline and Family Tree: Origins, History, and Contributors
- Notable Resources
- What is the Gospel?
- A Biblical Perspective? Check-out this post (here)✏️
What is the Enneagram?
You might be asking, “Isn’t the Enneagram just a personality test?” At first glance, that is all the Enneagram appears to be…which seems harmless. So why write this?
With the Enneagram becoming a growing focus within numerous evangelical churches (i.e. utilized for staff trainings, hiring of staff members, discipleship, etc), it’s incredibly important that we slow down and “interview” the Enneagram. We prayerfully need to conduct a background check (ie What are the roots? Is it Christian?), not to mention examine the theology of its teachers, authors, etc (How do they define the nature of God? Who is Jesus? What is sin? What is Salvation?) This post will provide notable research as to help you test the claims of Enneagram proponents, as well as to determine if the Enneagram is indeed Biblical. Friends, there is nothing unkind about doing so…it’s actually what we are supposed to do! (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1; Acts 17)
“As Christians, it is important to investigate any new practice or teaching prior to use, and the Enneagram is no different.”Dr. Chris Berg
So how do three prominent Enneagram authors define this tool? Let’s take a look at a few quotes!
“The Enneagram is old. It has roots in several wisdom traditions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Seven of the nine Enneagram types are associated with the “capital” or “deadly” sins which originated with the Desert Fathers. But it was not until the late 1960s that Oscar Ichazo began teaching the Enneagram as we know it today. From Ichazo’s school in South America, a group of Jesuits learned the system and brought it back with them to the United States. Richard Rohr learned about the Enneagram from this group and was one of the first people to publish a book about it in English.”Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation
“The Enneagram (Ennea=9, Gram=Diagram) is simply a map (GPS) for self-discovery and personal growth based on 9 basic personality types. The Enneagram accurately and clearly describes why you think, feel and behave in particular ways based upon your core fears and core desires. The power of the Enneagram is in its ability to harness and transform self-limiting behaviors into life-enhancing personal empowerment. The gift of the Enneagram is that through self-discovery, one can create and sustain meaningful and lasting relationships with others, God and themselves.”Beth McCord, www.yourenneagramcoach.com
As Russ Hudson frequently emphasizes, “Type isn’t a ‘type’ of person, but a path to God.” The nine types of the Enneagram form a sort of color wheel that describes the basic archetypes of humanity’s tragic flaws, sin tendencies, primary fears, and unconscious needs. The understanding of these components, when shaped through contemplative practice, helps us wake up to our True Self and come home to our essential nature.”Christopher L. Heuertz, “The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth”
Contrary to claims made by Cron, Stabile, Rohr, McCord, and Heuertz, the Enneagram does not have ancient roots, nor is it Christian. Far from it, actually! The nine-pointed diagram itself was constructed in 1916 by an Armenian esoteric philosopher named, George Gurdjieff, as a way to know the secrets of cosmic reality. According to Gurdjieff’s pupil, P.D. Ouspensky (1878-1947), the enneagram circle with 9 points was designed as “…a ‘cosmic blueprint’ — a diagrammatic representation of the fundamental laws that create and sustain everything from the whole of Creation to individual organisms. The Enneagram demonstrates the interaction of the Law of Three and the Law of Seven that gives rise to all phenomena…All of Creation, the Physical world, the Subtle world, the Causal world and beyond that the Absolute – everything is contained in 9.” For more on this please click here.
Fast forward to the late 1960’s and you will find both Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo creatively utilizing Gurdjieff’s invention for new purposes. Please read the timeline below for more in-depth information pertaining to Ichazo and Naranjo. However, because these two men are considered the primary authors of the Enneagram of Personality, it’s critical that I detail how they derived the personality traits. Ichazo, a Bolivian philosopher, attached “Ego Fixations” to the 9 points, all the while claiming he was inspired and guided by two Spirit Guides named, Metatron and the Green Qu’Tub.
“What evidence do we have that there’s one capital sin at the core of your personality? Except Oscar Ichazo and his spirit Metatron said so.”Father Mitch Pacwa
Say what?! Yes, you read that correctly. It was the testimony of both Ichazo and Naranjo that Spirit Guides had provided explicit guidance regarding the development of the personality types and traits. Friends, that’s serious. Let that sink in, please. But sadly, that’s not the end of line regarding the spirals input from “fallen angels.” Claudio Naranjo confessed in a video interview from 2010 that he and Ichazo not only fabricated the lore of ancient origins but also confided that the Enneatype descriptions were submitted through Automatic Writing. This demonstrates explicitly that this tool is not spiritually neutral. It was not inspired by God but by means of Divination. God redeems those who commit divination, but not the act itself. It’s seeking another spirit for guidance…that’s not ok! (Deut 18; and Acts 19).
There shall not be found among you anyone (K)who burns his son or his daughter as an offering,[e] anyone who (L)practices divination or (M)tells fortunes or interprets omens, or (N)a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or (O)a medium or a necromancer or (P)one who inquires of the dead, 12 (Q)for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord.Deuteronomy 18:10-12
While the origins are shown to be nefarious at best, what is most concerning is the theology attached to the Enneagram. As you will see from the videos and links provided within this post, what is promoted by the Enneagram authors mentioned above is not in-line with essential Christian doctrine… but is instead a pragmatic syncretism of various spiritual doctrines pointing heavily to a Gnostic worldview. The “Enneagram Wisdom” is not wisdom you and I should take to heart, friends. It’s spiritual guidance from spiritual sources which are not obedient to God, and therefore will lead you away from His Word.
“Gnosticism presents a radically self-centred alternative gospel. Instead of pointing to Christ, Gnosticism proclaims that salvation comes from inside, finding your true identity within. It denies the goodness of the Creator and the glory of his creation. It denies the Incarnation, the resurrection and the need for redemption. Gnosticism sets itself against true Christianity at every point. It has been described as the ultimate heresy. This false teaching was faced by the Church in the second and third centuries AD.”Christian Institute, Gnosticism
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”1 John 4:1
Friends, when an author slaps scripture upon a New Age tool, does it then become Christian? Per GK Chesterton, no more than standing in a garage makes someone a car!
Sadly, this is what we are witnessing with the Enneagram. A tool designed to seek spiritual guidance and instruction from spirits disobedient to God cannot be Christianized by human will. Sinners (ie. former adulterers, psychics, liars, etc) can be saved by the Grace of God through the Gospel but not the sin (adultery, divination, lying, etc).
Praying with fervency that the information shared within this post will greatly assist you on the “interviewing” journey. If you have any questions along the way, please do not hesitate to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)… I’ll certainly reach-out to the experts and see if I can get some answers for you! Reader, you are loved!
Timeline and Family Tree
1. George Gurdjieff
As research from Ron Huggins, Marcia Montenegro, Midwest Christian Outreach, and Father Mitch Pacwa has demonstrated, the earliest evidence we have for the existence of the Enneagram is around AD 1916 with George Gurdjieff. Gurdjieff was an Arminian esoteric philosopher and the sole architect of the 9-pointed shape called the Enneagram. And this was confirmed in a video shared below, where Claudio Naranjo (the inventor of the Enneatypes), labeled Gurdjieff as the inventor of Enneagram. Elaborating further, Naranjo described the inherent design as mathematical not psychological, and that it did not originate by way of Christianity. It’s inherent design was and is actually heavily influenced by Gnosticism as well as the Occult. To quote Gurdjieff, “All knowledge can be included in the Enneagram and with the help of the Enneagram it can be interpreted. And in this connection only what a man is able to put into the Enneagram does he actually know, that is, understand. What he cannot put into the Enneagram makes books and libraries entirely unnecessary. Everything can be included and read in the Enneagram.” To Gurdjieff and his followers, the Enneagram (through the Law of 3 and the Law of 7) provided a manner in which all knowledge included in the cosmos could be known….
“(Gurdjieff’s) Enneagram to describe one’s essential nature as opposed to one’s personality”Christopher Heuertz, The Sacred Enneagram, page 46.
“If you meditate and the Devil comes, make the Devil meditate.”Gurdjieff
“It is only by grounding our awareness in the living sensation of our bodies that the ‘I Am,’ our real presence, can awaken.”Gurdjieff
2. P. D. Ouspensky
Per Wikipedia, “Ouspensky studied the Gurdjieff system directly under Gurdjieff’s own supervision for a period of ten years, from 1915 to 1924.” Neither Gurdjieff or his pupil, Ouspensky, utilized the Enneagram for the purposes of personality. However, Ouspensky was curious what he could find by wrapping the planets around the Enneagram…(see Rodney Collin). Ouspensky went on to author at least 4 books about Gurdjieff, “The Fourth Way,” as well as “In Search of the Miraculous,” are included in those works.
“If a man gives way to all his desires, or panders to them, there will be no inner struggle in him, no ‘friction,’ no fire. But if, for the sake of attaining a definite aim, he struggles with desires that hinder him, he will then create a fire which will gradually transform his inner world into a single whole.”P.D. Ouspensky
“The problem of Eternity, of which the face of the Sphinx speaks, takes us into the realm of the impossible. Even the problem of Time is simple in comparison with the problem of Eternity.”“A New Model of the Universe: Principles of the Psychological Method in Its Application to Problems of Science, Religion and Art”. Book by P.D. Ouspensky, 1931.
3. Rodney Collin
Enter Rodney Collin. According to Wikipedia, Collin “was a British writer in the area of spiritual growth. His work was heavily influenced by his teacher P. D. Ouspensky and, through him, G. I. Gurdjieff and their system of spiritual development. Collin was one of the most well-known of Ouspenky’s students not to mention a prolific writer.” Around 1954, Rodney Collin was the first to apply an element of personality to the Enneagram which corresponded to Ouspensky’s planetary assignments.
“Collin claimed that once you’ve become firmly cognizant of your own planetary personality type you can improve yourself by trying to incorporate elements from the first two planetary types, as it were, downstream in the enneagram flow sequence from your own according to the formula 142857. So, for example, if you are a martial type (point 5 on Collin’s enneagram), you can improve yourself by incorporating features first from the Jovial type (point 7), and then second from the Lunar type, representing “cool instinctive certainty” (point 1).”Anne Kennedy; http://www.equip.org; “The Road Back to Where? A Look at Self-Discovery using the Enneagram”
4. Oscar Ichazo
Oscar Ichazo, like Ouspensky and Collin, was a follower of Gurdjieff’s esoteric teaching. In 1968, Ichazo founded the Arica School in Arica, Chile which focused upon both New Age and Occultic practices. Per Wikipedia and Ramparts magazine, Ichazo’s Arica School promulgated “A body of techniques for cosmic consciousness-raising and an ideology to relate to the world in an awakened way.”
Per the research of Brandon Medina, Marcia Montenegro, Midwest Christian Outreach, and Dr. Ron Huggins, Ichazo claimed to had been inspired and guided by two Spirit Guides: “Metatron” and the “Green Qu’Tab. It was during this time at the Arica School, while being instructed by these “fallen angels,” that Ichazo reports seeing a vision of 108 enneagram shapes…picking the modern day design as his own invention. Upon each point, Oscar was inspired to place what he called “Ego Fixations.” According to Gnostic philosophy, these fixations exemplify what is termed as the False Self. Gnosticism proposes that we have a True is pure, divine Self which has never been separated from God. Ichazo believed that if we shed the “False Self,” how we see ourselves via our emotions and experiences, we can unmask the True Self.
Per an article on CatholicCulture.org, Father Mitch Pacwa explained that Metatron told Ichazo “to take the Enneagram — just as a drawing without any names on it—and on the Enneagram place the capital sins.” Pacwa goes on to say, “Wait a minute—how many capital sins are there? 7, so he didn’t have enough, so he made up 2 more. For No.3, appropriately enough, he added the capital sin of “deceit”. Then for the No.6 he added “cowardice”. He put the other capital sins—1 Anger, 2 Pride, 4 Envy, 5 Avarice, 7 Gluttony, 8 Lust, and then of course, indolence is sloth. So he put the 7 capital sins plus deceit and cowardice on the points, and then gave them these names of ego-flattery etc. And that’s all that he had. That’s all that Ichazo had from the spirit.”
Mitch Pacwa asked a necessary question, “What evidence do we have that there’s one capital sin at the core of your personality? Except Oscar Ichazo and his spirit Metatron said so.”
Many of those who had believed came forward, confessing and making their deeds known. 19 Large numbers of those who had practiced magic collected their books and burned them up in the presence of everyone. When the value of the books was added up, it was found to total 50,000 silver coins.Acts 19 (post-cross. God redeems the sinner, not the practices)
5. Claudio Naranjo
Claudio Naranjo, a Chilean Psychiatrist and spiritual seeker, traveled to the Arica School with the intention of learning from Oscar Ichazo. Claudio specialized with psychogenic drugs and spirit contact in hopes to grow spiritually. In an interview from 2011 (here), Naranjo shares that affinity and appreciation for Shamanism. As defined by the Society for Samantic Practice, “Shamanism is the world’s oldest spiritual path coupled with practical strategies for survival. It is a nature-based path of direct revelation meaning that each person has access to Spirit and spirits without need of any hierarchical structure.” This further exemplifies Claudio Naranjo’s Worldview, which is far from Christian. Often termed the “Father of the Enneagram,” Claudio confesses per the video shared here that the personality types added to the 9 points were derived predominantly through spirit contact…by way of Automatic Writing.
Lord your God is giving you, you must not learn the abhorrent practices of those nations. 10 There must never be found among you anyone who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, anyone who practices divination, an omen reader, a soothsayer, a sorcerer, 11 one who casts spells, one who conjures up spirits, a practitioner of the occult, or a necromancer.Deuteronomy 18
*God is unchanging (immutable). He redeems creation through the work of His Son, Jesus, but not the idolatrous acts that seek other spiritual influences. This is important to understand, Biblically.
7. Bob Oches and Helen Palmer
Per Jesuits.org, “In the 1970s, Catholic theology students were taught the Enneagram in Chicago by Father Fr. Ochs, S.J. Ochs changed the Enneagram to suit his theological purpose of integrating the Enneagram with the teachings of St Ignatius Loyola..” It was through the instruction of Bob Oches at the Chicago seminary that Father Mitch Pacwa learned it, later teaching it to Richard Rohr, Don Riso, and others.
Per New Dimensions Radio, “Helen Palmer is an internationally recognized teacher of intuition, and the best-selling author of five works in the human consciousness sector. Helen’s work with the Enneagram was the subject of a 2003 PBS documentary entitled, “Breaking Out of the Box: Discovering the Enneagram. ” Palmer is head of the Center for Enneagram Studies and Teaching. Helen Palmer and Bob Oches both trained directly under Claudio Naranjo and had an incredible impact, per their own confessions, upon both Christopher Heuertz and Beth McCord.
“The immediate goal is to recognize the inner patterns that drive your outer behavior. These patterns vary according to the type of person you are, and can be internally witnessed by a faculty of spiritual awareness commonly called the Inner Observer“. – Helen Palmer
Suppose a prophet or one who foretells by dreams should appear among you and show you a sign or wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder should come to pass concerning what he said to you, namely, “Let us follow other gods”—gods whom you have not previously known—“and let us serve them.” 3 You must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer, for the Lord your God will be testing you to see if you love him with all your mind and being.Deuteronomy 13
“Don’t turn to psychics or mediums to get help. That will make you unclean. I am the LORD your god.”Leviticus 19:31
“Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.”Acts 19:18-19 (post-cross)
8. Mitch Pacwa, Don Riso, and Russ Hudson
Father Mitch Pacwa, an American Jesuit Priest, was trained to utilize the Enneagram by Bon Oches at their seminary in Chicago. Pacwa later taught an Enneagram course to the most central person in this entire timeline, Franciscan Friar Richard Rohr. Upon discovering the rather dubious origins of the Enneagram, Fr Pacwa promptly condemned its usage, and set-forth to warn other Catholics!
“I have mentioned all this in terms of its roots, to de-mythologise the absolute nonsensical myth of it being a 2000-year-old Sufi system. That is untrue. It’s less than 30 years old. I don’t intend to say in any way that the Catholic teachers of the Enneagram are promoting pantheism; they don’t know its pantheistic roots; they don’t know about its occultic roots; they don’t know that it came from spirit channelling; they don’t know that it was originally a form of fortune-telling. They haven’t got a clue of that. They all believe the old myth — or the not so old myth — the 30-year-old myth of it being an ancient system.” – Mitch Pacwa
Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who create dissensions and obstacles contrary to the teaching that you learned. Avoid them! 18 For these are the kind who do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By their smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of the naive. 19 Your obedience is known to all and thus I rejoice over you. But I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.Romans 16
Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.Ephesians 5:11
Don Riso, an ex-Jesuit, studied the Enneagram from the same man that taught Fr Mitch Pacwa, Bob Ochs. Per Wikipedia, “In 1987, Riso published his 12 years of Enneagram thinking in his first book, Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery. This work showed the influence of Carl Gustav Jung and also of Karen Horney. Three years later he published Understanding the Enneagram.” Approximately 10 years after his book had published, Riso co-founded the Enneagram Institute in Stone Ridge, New York.
“One of the ego’s main defenses against doing so (experiencing our Essence) is the belief that spirituality is something rarefied, impractical, and very far away. In fact, it is closer than we think, as the mystics assure us: we do not have to go anywhere or accomplish anything. What we must learn is to stop running away from ourselves . . . The good news is that you are already here: your Essence already exists entirely and perfectly . . . We do not need to learn something new or anything to be our True Nature. Spiritual progress involves seeing what is right under our noses – really, what is right under the layers of our personality. Spiritual work is therefore a matter of subtraction, of letting go, rather than of adding anything to what is already present.”Don Richard Riso, The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types
In the quote above from Don Riso’s book, “The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types,” two capitalized words jump out us immediately, “Essence” and “True Nature?” Friends, these are not Christian terms but instead are Gnostic. Gnosticism is very complex, but at the heart of it all is a different God, a very different Christ, a divine human nature (given a “spark”), and a salvation which is obtained through enlightenment. Per GotQuestions.org, “Psychologist C. G. Jung praised Gnosticism as superior to traditional Christianity as a way of thinking.” And Jungian psychology is a huge part of the Enneagram family tree; especially with Richard Rohr! For more pertaining to Gnosticism, GotQuestions has a concise definition here. However, if you want an intensive lesson, please check-out this 1-hour video by Remnant Radio here.
Let’s take a look at how a Gnostic website defines, “Essence.” GnosticsStudies.org, articulates Essence in this way, “What makes every newborn child beautiful and adorable is its Essence; the Essence in itself constitutes our true reality… The Essence that each one of us carries within our Interior comes from above, from Heaven, from the stars…” But that’s not all!
“Unquestionably, the marvelous Essence emanates from the note “LA” of the Cosmic Octave (The Milky Way, the Galaxy we live in). The precious Essence passes through the note “SOL” (the Sun) and then passes through the note “FA” (the Planetary Zone) entering into this world and penetrating into our own interior.
Our parents created the appropriate body for the reception of this Essence that emanates from the Stars… Essence is the basis of the human being’s physical, emotional and mental makeup.”
-paraphrase from Ch. 4 (The Essence) & Ch. 5 (To Accuse Oneself) of Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.Ephesians 2:1-9
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.Mark 10:18
“Type isn’t a ‘type’ of person, but a path to God.”Russ Hudson
Co-founder of the Enneagram Institute with Don Riso, Russ Hudson is keeping extremely busy with his Enneagram workshops. The following is a description for a conference taking place in July of 2022: “More people are aware of the Enneagram than ever before. But in many cases, this powerful system of transformation is reduced to a simple typology without any reference to its rich history and roots, not to mention its original purpose.” According to his website, www.Russhudson.com, Hudson is “the founder and president of Russ Hudson Consulting, and is the co-founder of the Enneagram Institute as well as a Founding Director and former Vice-President of the International Enneagram Association—a global organization advancing knowledge of the subject.”
“but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.”1 Thessalonians 5:21
“Russ worked with Don Riso for several years to develop a scientifically-validated test instrument, the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI), now considered a standard test in the Enneagram field. The RHETI has been used by Fortune 500 companies including Amoco, AT&T, DuPont, Motorola, General Motors (Cadillac Division), Prudential Insurance, and SONY.”Russ Hudson, www.RussHudson.com
General ConclusionJay Mendenwaldt, “The Enneagram, Science, and Christianity (Part 1)”
“Unless you’ve done graduate work in psychometrics, the scientific data probably doesn’t mean a whole lot to you (which is why there are two parts to this article). For those who have studied psychometrics, it’s a no-brainer that the enneagram simply cannot do all its proponents claim it can. Any scientist who studies personality would simply look at the reliability scores and conclude the test is not accurate enough to be helpful, and therefore, they wouldn’t use it because the potential for harm will be too high. I hope this information is helpful and informative, for those who’ve been silently skeptical of the enneagram and for those who are fans of it. My goal was and is to be as objective as possible, which is why I included statistics that may have been hard to understand. In this article, I mostly wanted to get the data out. In part 2, I explain why the enneagram still seems to work (for some), why it matters if we use it or not, and offer recommendations for better tools that can be used as a replacement.”
“Is the Enneagram Institute’s RHETI® version 2.5 Scientifically Validated?” By Jay Mendenwaldt
- “The Enneagram, Science, and Christianity – Part 1” Jay Mendenwaldt ✏️
- “The Enneagram, Science, and Christianity – Part 2,” Jay Mendenwald ✏️
- Discredited Assessment and Treatment Methods Used with Children and Adolescents: A Delphi Poll; 25 April 2014 ✏️
9. Richard Rohr
But of all of the concerns presented thus far, possibly the most pertinent to consider is the theology of Richard Rohr.
“We overcome our evil not by a frontal and heroic attack, but by recognizing it, naming it, and letting it go. The Enneagram works by insight. Once we see our False Self for what it is, we are no longer attached to it, and it no longer blocks us from realizing our inherent union with God. The Enneagram helps us see our own compulsive blindness and how we are acting at cross-purposes with our best interest. Realizing that, we can eventually flow with our gift and integrate our sin, our shadow, our failure, the “stone” which we rejected. We finally see that I am what I am, good and bad put together into one self; and God’s mercy is so great and God’s love is so total that God uses even my sin in my favor! God is using all of me to bring me to God. That is the Good News!” 🚩Richard Rohr’s Daily Mediation, May 25, 2014
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel (“good news”)—7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.Galatians 1:6-7
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.1 Corinthians 15:1-11
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.1 Corinthians 15:12-17
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”Romans 10:9-13
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:1-9
“The whole Enneagram diagram is called ‘the face of God.’ If you could look out at reality with nine years of eyes and honor all of them, you would look at reality through the eyes of God.” 🚩Richard Rohr, “The Enneagram (part 1)” May 26, 2014; Rohr’s Daily Meditations
Per Rohr’s bio at the Center of Action and Contemplation, Franciscan friar Rohr is an ecumenical teacher who bears witness to the deep wisdom of Christian mysticism and traditions of action and contemplation. He professes to follow what is called, Perennial Wisdom, as well as sees God and Creation through the lens of Panentheism.
Rohr’s theological and anthropological views are being introduced to the evangelical church through his books, “The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective” as well as the “The Universal Christ.” Both which have had an incredible impact upon numerous pastors and authors, namely Suzanne Stabile, Ian Cron, Christopher Hereutz, Rob Bell, Beth McCord, David G. Benner, and Oprah Winfrey. Most of whom have been incredibly influential regarding the Enneagram entering the Church. Borrowed from researched conducted by Christian Apologists, Steven Bancarz and Alisa Childers (here), Richard Rohr advocates the following unbiblical viewpoints regarding Jesus and the Biblical Gospel…
Rohr’s claims will be be listed first 🚩, with a Biblical response shared afterwards 🔍.
- 🚩 Rohr claims that the Big Bang was his Christ’s first incarceration with Jesus being the 2nd. This showcases a blur between the Creator and Creation, and promotes both God snd man as being one in essence…this lends itself to Panentheism. 🔍 Per Christian Apologist, Norman Geisler, “Panentheists think of God as a finite, changing, director of world affairs who works in cooperation with the world in order to achieve greater perfection in his nature…they believe the world is God’s body.”1 (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59; Ephesians 3; Malachi 3:6 God affirms, “I the Lord do not change;”James 1:17; Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Isaiah 46:9-11; and Ezekiel 24:14.)
- 🚩Rohr claims that Jesus and the Christ are two different/separate beings. 🔍 Biblically, we know by studying God’s Word that the term “Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word, “Messiah.” Christ is also read, “Anointed One.” By reading what God has intentionally gifted us (the Bible), “Christ” is not a separate Being, as is proclaimed in Gnosticism, but is instead a title as well as a role for which Jesus was meant to fulfill. Acts 17:2-3; John 20:28; Acts 2:36; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 John 1:7)
- 🚩Rohr teaches that Jesus did not exist before the virgin birth; (🔍John 1; John 8:59-59; Jude 1:5; Mark 14:61-64)
- 🚩Rohr advocates that You and I are Christ. Rohr reports that we are actually the Christ. He teaches that sin blinds us to this purposed reality, and that we just need to be conscious of this. Per New Age beliefs, this is dependent upon a works-based path of spiritual maturity; The concepts being taught by Richard Rohr mimic Brahman more than Christianity; (🔍Matthew 24; Isaiah 45:5; Romans 8; Eph 2)
- 🚩Rohr denies the necessity of the cross (🔍Romans 3:23, 5:8; Acts 4:12; 1 Cor 15)
- 🚩Rohr writes in the “Universal Christ” that we should worship dirt and rocks, then trees, and then angels, … each before we worship God (🔍Luke 4:8; Romans 1:23-24)
- 🚩Rohr declares that God doesn’t have a name; (🔍YAHWEH Exodus 3:14, 6:3)
- 🚩Rohr instructs that the “True Self” is the Divine Self or the part of us that has NEVER been separated from God. (🔍Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1)
According to seminary professor and author Douglas Groothuis, “Richard Rohr is a heretic in the robes of a Franciscan priest. To be more specific, he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a false teacher, and a deceiver (see Matthew 7:15–19; Acts 20:29–31). Groothuis backs-up his “strong claims” in his article for the Christian Review Institute, “A Heretic’s Christ, a False Salvation: A Review of The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope for, and Believe Richard Rohr.” Click here for the article. Friends, Paul passionately warned the church to be both aware of as well as prepared for those proclaiming “a different Jesus, a different spirit, and a different gospel” (2 Corinthians 11). And sadly, Richard Rohr is promulgating a different Jesus, a different spirit, and a very different gospel. We need to pray for Friar Rohr.
10. Ian Cron, Suzanne Stabile, Christopher Heuertz,
and Beth McCord
Per Ian Cron’s website, Cron is recognized as “a bestselling author, psychotherapist, Enneagram teacher, Episcopal priest, and the host of the popular podcast “Typology,” which has over 20 million downloads.” Cron, an admirer of Richard Rohr, has had an incredible impact upon many hearts through both his books and podcasts.
Within the first few chapters of The Road Back To You, Ian Cron provides us with two red flags 🚩 to thoughtfully consider. Firstly, under the chapter entitled, “A Curious Theory of Unknown Origin,” Ian enthusiastically discloses the expansive impact Hudson, Palmer and Rohr have had upon his Enneagram education. This should immediately cause us to pause and evaluate Mr. Cron’s worldview, and how much both Gnosticism (secret wisdom) and Perennial Wisdom have influenced his own theology. Secondly, in chapter 2, Cron reinforces our need to our responsibly “test the spirits” (1 John 4) when articulating that the purpose of the Enneagram is to bring us back to our “Authentic Self- the beautiful essence of who we are.” This terminology is NOT referring to our “new life” in Christ, which Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:24, and Galatians 2:20, boldly instead reflects the same worldviews of Ichazo, Naranjo, and Rohr regarding the Gnostic Christ as the “Divine Self” which has always been within you.🚩 Ian goes on to say, regarding the “Authentic Self” (Chapter 2), “As (Thomas) Merton put it, ‘Before we can become who we really are, we must become conscious of the fact that the person we think we are, here and now, is at best an imposter and a stranger.’ Becoming conscious is where the Enneagram comes in.”
Per Marcia Montenegro’s article, “The Christian Enneagram Authors: What You Should Know and Why,” Cron refers to the “Enneagram as coming ‘outside’ of the Christian tradition and thus acknowledges it is derived from non-Christian teachings (which is true). Rather shockingly, Cron also tells Beatrice Chestnut that ‘If you told me there was no trinity, it probably wouldn’t change any of my plans for today.’ For a professing Christian to say the Trinity has no import for one’s life is either to dismiss it as inconsequential or as possibly untrue. This is quite a reckless statement.” Marcia goes on to lovingly alert, Ian Cron held an Enneagram seminar called “Luminous” with New Age Enneagram teacher and psychotherapist Beatrice Chestnut in 2019.
“The Enneagram doesn’t put you in a box. It shows you the box you’re already in and how to get out of it.”Ian Morgan Cron, The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery
Per her website, SuzanneStabile.com, “Suzanne Stabile is a highly sought after speaker and teacher, known for her engaging laugh, personal vulnerability and creative approach to Enneagram instruction. After 25 years of studying the enneagram, learning from people’s stories, cultivating relationships, and learning under Father Richard Rohr, she has become a bestselling author and world class teacher of the enneagram and how individuals can best utilize this spiritual tool.”
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.Hebrews 4:12-13
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.Hebrews 4:14-16
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:8-10
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.30 And because of him[e] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”1 Corinthians 1:26-31
As cited by Marcia Montenegro, Suzanne explains that “when people begin to commit themselves to a deeper spiritual journey, the first two things that happen are they run into the fact that they don’t like themselves. And the Enneagram helps you get over that. And the second thing is struggles with family of origin and with other people. And the Enneagram helps you get over that.” — From https://bit.ly/2HIqpOL
Notice how the Enneagram is touted as the tool to help us “get over” both our personal and interpersonal brokenness. The Enneagram seems to be the prominent hero of our story, per Suzanne Stabile, not the Biblical Gospel of Jesus. This is a heartbreaking observation regarding the Enneagram!
“So how have we gotten so far off track? How do we heal ourselves from the false identities we’ve reinforced? Ultimately, how do we find our way home to the God of love and our true identity? This is where the Enneagram comes in. It reveals our path for recovering our true identity and helps us navigate the journey home to God.” (23)Chris Heuertz, The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,Proverbs 3:5-8
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.
Per Christopher Heuertz’s webpage, Chris was first introduced to the Enneagram in the slums of Cambodia, and was later “trained under some of the great living Enneagram masters — including Father Richard Rohr.” Heuertz exploded onto the Enneagram scene with his incredibly popular 2017 book, “The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth” (printed by Zondervan), promting a handful of pastors and seminary professors to respectfully vet Heuertz’s theology. One of those professors was Dr. Kenneth Berding from Biola University. Dr. Berding’s book review of “The Sacred Enneagram” is not only FILLED with quotes collected directly from the source (Heuertz), but tests them responsibly against scripture: *How does The Sacred Enneagram approach the essential Christian doctrines of God’s nature, *the Lordship of Jesus, *Sin, *Salvation, *Sanctification, and the avoidance of syncretism. The following two-paragraph quote encompasses the conclusion of Berding’s book reveiw:
“Christopher Heuertz is promoting many false doctrines in his book The Sacred Enneagram. I write this with great grief and deep sorrow. The Sacred Enneagram is full of incorrect and misleading religious assertions. His teaching does not match what the Bible communicates regarding sin, salvation, sanctification, and probably also other core doctrines such as the nature of God, the person of Jesus Christ, and the atonement. He portrays the Enneagram as sacred, powerful, searching, alive. He mixes false religious ideas together with Christianity, and seems unconcerned about the Enneagram’s syncretistic origins.Dr. Kenneth Berding, “The Not-So-Sacred Enneagram: A Book Review of “The Sacred Enneagram” by Christopher L. Heuertz.” Talbot School of Theology Faculty Blog
I hope that Christians henceforth will be careful of Mr. Heuertz’s teachings. As I mentioned above, I’m relatively new to the discussion, and so haven’t yet been able to determine whether there are any positive uses for the Enneagram (somehow untethered from its mystical and religious overtones) or whether we should avoid the Enneagram altogether. I can say that if a book written by a professing Christian and published by an evangelical publisher can go this far astray, then, at the very least, we need to proceed with caution.”
“Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.“Romans 16:17
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.Acts 20:28
“They’ll say well that’s not in the Bible,” she says. “Well, the Myers-Briggs isn’t in the Bible. You know, there are lots of things that aren’t in the Bible but are still helpful.”
(Oh man, don’t get me started regarding “Pragmatism!” – Mer)Beth McCord interview with Relevant Magazine in 2018
As found on McCord’s professional website, Your Enneagram Coach, her mission is to come “alongside individuals and help them re-write their story, allowing them to see that lasting change, meaningful relationships, and a life of deep purpose is possible. This passion is what drove her to create this community, a safe place for individuals to explore the Enneagram.”
“To be fair, self-help isn’t all bad. It’s not like Scripture tells us to sit back and just pray about all our bad habits and watch them magically disappear. Rather, the message we would like to emphasize is that self-helpism has limits. There is a line between being good stewards of our bodies, emotions, and behaviors versus trying to change our own hearts or sin nature apart from the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work. The message within self-helpism (and within every “ism” mentioned in this book) is idolatry: Humanity takes something good and even powerful, and then mistakes it for God—giving it powers that are God’s alone.”Hillary Morgan Ferrer, Mama Bear Apologetics™: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies
Per a wonderfully comprehensive article written by Brandon Medina, Medina quotes the words of Richard Rohr from a daily devotional written on May 25, 2014 (found here). Rohr said “the enneagram is used to discern spirits, to help recognize your False Self, and lead you to encounter your True Self in God.” Rohr goes on to write that “we need support in unmasking our False Self and distancing ourselves from our illusions. With the self-knowledge that the Enneagram gives us, we are not dealing only with the acknowledgment of sin. (Note: In the Enneagram tradition, ‘sin’ is simply that which doesn’t work, i.e. self-defeating behavior.)”🚩 These quotes by Rohr further demonstrate that the Enneagram is something that cannot be Christian-ized by the addition of Scripture. And therefore, despite what the McCords might champion, it’s NOT spiritually neutral! Therefore, its promotion as a “Christ-centered” tool is extremely misleading. For more information from Brandon Medina’s, The Enneagram – A History (Part 3), please click here.
Friends, I earnestly hope and pray this reaches Beth…as I would genuinely appreciate dialoguing about all of this with her over a cup of coffee. When thinking upon how the church has arrived at this place regarding the Enneagram, Galatians 2 comes to mind readily. Written by Paul to the church of Galatia before he was martyred in AD 64, the letter to the Galatians passionately encouraged the church to remember the one true Gospel of Jesus; especially in-the-face-of false teachings. It was in this letter that Paul also documented an interaction with his Brother-in-Christ, Peter, and how even Peter needed direct encouragement. Paul had personally witnessed how Peter was being pressured by the circumcision party to add the cross of Grace when he had visited:
But when they (pro-circumcision party) arrived, he (Peter) stopped doing this and separated himself because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision.13 And the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray with them.Galatians 2:11-13
We can learn so, very much from that interaction between Paul and Peter when it comes to the Enneagram! God has intentionally provided us with this historical account of one friend lovingly providing needed correction to another (face-to-face) so that we could witness community at work! Paul knew that the cause of the Gospel was way too significant for fear to inhibit correction. And I would humbly speculate that Peter was sincerely grateful for his brother’s boldness! Friends, if Peter, a man who both walked and talked with God (Jesus, the 2nd Person of the Trinity) face-to-face, was capable of making mistakes (post-cross), you and I most certainly will! And when we do, let’s pray that a sister and/or brother will follow the example provided to us in Galatians 2, and remind us of the Gospel of Grace…
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.Proverbs 27:6
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.2 Timothy 2:15
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17
Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.1 Kings 18:21
“Nothing in the Bible indicates God cares about personality traits. Peter was impulsive (as we see from some passages), Moses was insecure regarding his speech, Paul wrote he had a thorn in his side (we don’t know what that was), Gideon made a lot of bad decisions, and on and on. God used them despite all of this. God cares about character, not personality. He cares about obedience.” 💥Marcia Montenegro
- Richard Rohr and the Enneagram Secret, by Don and Joy Veinot, Marcia Montenegro 📙
- The Enneagram and Richard Rohr, by Brandon Medina ✏️
- The New Age Trojan Horse: What Christians Should Know About Yoga And The Enneagram, by Dr. Chris Berg 📙
- Enneagram Theology: Is it Christian? Dr. Rhenn Cherry 📙
- What is Gnosticism?https://iep.utm.edu/gnostic/
- Claudio Naranjo’s public confession 🎞
- The Traditional Enneagram, the Enneagram Institute ✏️
- Tell Me Who I Am, O Enneagram, by CRI ✏️
- Is the Enneagram Spiritually Neutral? ✏️
- The Enneagram- A History, (Part 3) by Brandon Medina ✏️
- The Enneagram Interview Transcript with Dr. Christopher Berg ✏️
- What about the Enneagram, by Marcia Montenegro for Southern Evangelical Seminary ✏️
- The Enneagram has No Christian Origins by Marcia Montenegro ✏️
- Augustine’s Prayer to Know God and Himself ✏️
- The Fictions and Facts of the Enneagram by Marcia Montenegro ✏️
- Claudio Naranjo’s confession regarding the enneatypes 🎞
- Christian Answers for the New Age (Webpage) 🔍
- Christian Answers for the New Age (Facebook): https://m.facebook.com/FormerNewAger/ 🔍
- The Enneagram GPS: The Gnostic Path to Self , By Marcia Montenegro ✏️
- The Enneagram, Science, and Christianity, By Jay Mendenwaldt (Part 1)✏️
- Is the Enneagram Legitimate for Spiritual Growth? By Jay M. (Part 2) ✏️
- Explosion of the Enneagram Among Evangelicals, By Krista Bontrager ✏️
- The Enneagram by Fr Mitch Pacwa ✏️
- The Enneagram Goes to Church and the Angels Are Not Rejoicing, By Marcia Montenegro ✏️
- Apologetics315 with Marcia Montenegro 🎞🎙
- The Not-So-Sacred Enneagram by Kenneth Berding ✏️
- What does the Bible say about Divination, by GotQuestions
- Can God Use/Redeem Anything? By Marcia Montenegro ✏️
- What is Christ Consciousness? By GotQuestions ✏️
- Christ Consciousness Debunked, by Steven Bancarz ✏️
- New Age: Real Concerns for the Church ✏️
- Enneagram and the Church – Video Playlist 🎞
- Who is Richard Rohr?✏️
- Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation 🚩
- What is Panentheism? Childers and Montenegro 🎙
- “Richard Rohr’s Muddy Waters: Learning Rohr’s Language” by Midwest Christian Outreach ✏️
- The Cosmic Christ of the New Age by Steven Bancarz and Cultish 🎞
- A Heretic’s Christ, A False Salvation (Book Review of Richard Rohr’s Universal Christ), by Douglas Groothius and CRI
- Richard Rohr and the Enneagram Secret, by Joy and Don Veinot, with Marcia Montenegro 📔
- Richard Rohr teaches a class a. “The Enneagram: The Discernment of the Spirits.” 🎞
- What is Contemplative Prayer? by Gotquestions
- Contemplative Prayer, by Christian Answers for the New Age ✏️
- The Gift of Being Yourself (David G. Benner), Review by Marcia Montenegro ✏️
- The New Age Trojan Horse, by Dr. Christopher Berg 📔
- Carl Jung Theology and Philosophy ✏️
What is the Gospel?