I’ve listened to and been a part of more conversations about the enneagram than I care to admit. I resisted them at first because – like any personality test – they inevitably perpetuate self-centeredness through deeper self-awareness and end up being wrongly used to downplay the seriousness of personal sin.
However, I generally try to find a healthy balance in using personality tests as a neutral tool. After all, it can be extremely beneficial to our relationships to have better understandings of how we all relate to each other. So, I went all in. I read lots of articles and chuckled at all the personality-specific memes. I loved learning about the types and found them very insightful. I even learned about my struggles with nutrition and exercise through the lens of the enneagram. Crazy, right?
With my background in communication, I’m very familiar with personality tests and their creators. But after all my digging, I have concluded that this one is far different and should be weighed far more seriously as to whether we should embrace it.
Unless you have managed to avoid the current trends, you’ve probably heard some pastors or Christian teachers/writers discuss the enneagram as it relates to the Christian walk and how we can use it to better ourselves. For example, just this week I read The Gospel Coalition’s new article, “Personality Tests Don’t Excuse Your Sin,” which was nearly the gist of this article. Unfortunately, I have seen Christians use their enneagram number to excuse personal sin on numerous occasions. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems with the enneagram.
I recently came across this in-depth podcast episode about why Christians should exercise extreme caution when it comes to the enneagram in particular. They take no occasion for spewing out opinions, but rather simply consider its factual roots and influences. If you’re going to listen, I recommend skipping to the 15-minute mark. Until then, it’s just random chitchat. The actual enneagram symbol has been around for quite some time.
But the personality side of it has only existed since the 1960’s when Oscar Ichazo, a New Age teacher heavily involved in psychedelic drugs and shamanism penned them. He claimed to have discovered the deeper spiritual and personality meanings of the Enneagram when it was taught to him through automatic writing by the “Archangel” Metraton while he was high on mescaline. The whole group studying with him were gnostics in pursuit of higher mystical knowledge. Their religion was the worship of “Self” with a capital s and their philosophy was that wisdom is learned from inside yourself and observing the natural universe, a clear contradiction to Scripture which says,
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Proverbs 9:10
Even more condemning of the underpinning philosophical and theological teachings of the enneagram is that the Bible says that the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness,‘ and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’ So let no one boast in men…” 1 Corinthians 3:16-20a (bold added for emphasis)
The New Age movement is spiritual, yes. But there are many spirits in this world and as Christians, we’re to exercise biblical discernment and wisdom about who we listen to and learn from. Spiritual enlightenment can very well be earthly, sensual, and demonic. The influence of the being Metatron sounds an awful lot like a demon, wouldn’t you agree? While the enneagram initial insights and observations may seem an accurate depiction of reality, their conclusion is so far from biblical teaching on who we are.
I’m afraid more and more Christians today are ditching time spent with the LORD studying His written Word which has all the riches and spiritual insight we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4) in favor of a sprinkle of a Jesus, a proverb a day, and loads of worldly wisdom to tell them about themselves. Brothers and sisters, if that’s you – you are robbing yourself of great treasure found in God’s Word – the Holy Bible.
Many of my dearly loved brothers and sisters in Christ who use the enneagram have said that it convicts them and shows them where they need to improve. I honestly felt the same way at times. But, given all the information I shared above, my question is this: who brings conviction and how? Does an occult tool with gnostic meaning bring it or does Holy God bring conviction through the Bible? The answer is simple to me. I only wish all God’s people would see the seriousness of this. It’s not a joke. The “Christian” authors advocating for its use in the church are seriously misguided.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:11-12 (bold added for emphasis)
Christian, we are not called to sit idly by soaking up every bit of information without first testing it against God’s Word. We are to make war against the devil and his crafty schemes. Our armor for the battle is His truth, His righteousness, His gospel of peace, the faith and salvation given to us, His Word, and His Spirit (Ephesians 6:13-18). We do not need wisdom or insight from a self-worshiping group of people influenced by drugs and demons.
“If the Enneagram were another version of What Color Is Your Parachute or Strengths Finder, that would be fine,” Kevin DeYoung says. “But it has been, from its inception (whenever that was), infused with spiritual significance. And therein lies the danger.”
I’m naturally drawn to debate, so I welcome your opposing perspective, but I ask that you come with the same Christian love and respect I have for you. Many will cite Romans 14:14-23 as their basis for continuing to use the enneagram. If you are totally convinced through the Word of God that it is of no harm, I can respect your conclusion. We can agree to disagree on this for the glory of God if it comes down to it, but I certainly hope I’ve at least made you aware of what you formerly were not.