Christians are notorious for following the whims of the culture. If you want to imitate prophecy, all you have to do is look at what the hot button issues are in the world today and then predict that the church will be preaching on that same topic in 3-5 years. One of the latest fads which seems to be getting a grip within the visible church is the Enneagram. I honestly don’t have the time nor inclination to become an Enneagram expert. And, frankly, I don’t have to watch a porn movie to be able to tell you why you shouldn’t watch it.
So it is in that spirit that I hope to briefly dissuade you from participation in the Enneagram. It is unnecessary, unhelpful, and ultimately an attack on the sufficiency of Scripture when used for “Christian growth.” Feel free to use your favorite search engine to find out more about it if you don’t already know.
But First, A Word
Look, if you have participated in the Enneagram or propagated it to others, I want to remind you that there is forgiveness in Christ. I trust that in many cases of Christian support for this practice, no harm was intended. Maybe you never thought too deeply about it or never put too much stock in it. I am not here to say that everyone that has ever taken the quiz is demonic. But I think that Christians need to take seriously the evidence I’ll provide therein (including the links which have more argumentation than I want to dedicate space to here). Loving Christ and believing what He has said in His Word dictates that sometimes we’ll have blind spots and we need to be thankful if a discerning brother or sister brings them to the forefront where we can see them, even if it stings our pride a little. So it is with a humble mind and a tender heart that I ask you to read the rest. (1 Peter 3:8)
The pseudo-Christian Intervarsity organization proposes that the Enneagram be used to help you grow as a Christian.
But the Enneagram is meant to be a tool that frees us from the false self and opens us up more deeply to the transforming work of God’s Spirit. (link)
This is absurd. God’s Word is all-sufficient. 2 Timothy 3:17 is absolutely clear that NOTHING apart from God’s Word is needed for the Christian to grow in godliness. To imply otherwise is to declare God’s Word to be insufficient. No Christian should seek to be transformed by anything but God’s Spirit through God’s Word. Anything else is idolatry.
The scary thing is that a person may actually be transformed by the Enneagram instead of God’s Word. God’s Word doesn’t work in addition to our secular/pagan notions of growth. Like Christ whose work needs no additional help from this wicked world-system, God the Holy Spirit doesn’t work apart from His Word to sanctify the church.
I realize that just because something has pagan roots doesn’t necessarily imply that it is untrue or wrong. But the pagan roots of the Enneagram are well-documented. (Joe Carter https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-faqs-what-christians-should-know-about-the-enneagram/) I cannot see why a new creation in Christ would even want to play with fire like this. The Enneagram is little more than pseudo-science and astrology. The ultimate effect is idolatry. Even if you think it provided some true insight about you or a family member—did it really tell you much you didn’t know? Or did it just confirm that we all have some tendencies?
Kevin DeYoung’s article on the subject here https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevin-deyoung/enneagram-road-back-somewhere-else/ gives the best reasoning for why we should abandon this practice. Even if it weren’t functional idolatry and occultic in nature, it really doesn’t offer anything substantially helpful which is not already available through other means anyway. Do you want to know if you are an introvert or not? Ask your friends. Do you wonder if you are a leader or if you seem to be a peacemaker? To the extent that those things matter, ask your local church to tell you. Trust me, people who know you already know these things.
Have you done the Enneagram? Be honest, it didn’t reveal a lot, did it? It either told you what you already knew and what your family and friends could have already told you OR it told you something contradictory to that. If it told you what you already knew, what’s the use? And why combine something so unhelpful with the potential danger of new-age mystic practices?
And if it told you something different from what those closest to you would say, do you take it as the authority? Why? Why do you give authority to this quiz and categorization system over the thoughtful assessments of your godly friends? What you give authority to is your god, and you are in danger of listening to evil spirits rather than the Spirit of Christ when you defer to Enneagram’s assessment of your identity rather than what God’s people would say about you.
Kevin DeYoung writes:
I’m sure that some Christians will be quick to respond, “Sounds like a goofy book, but that’s not how I use the Enneagram.” I’m thankful for that. But then I’d encourage these brothers and sisters to dial back the Enneagram enthusiasm, like way back. If you want to scrap most of the Enneagram history, therapeutic baggage, and Catholic mysticism, I suppose you could still have a personality tool that might open your eyes to a thing or two. But then I’d glean a few insights quietly and distance myself from the seminars, the experts, the books, the articles, and the nomenclature of the Enneagram. If the Enneagram were another version of What Color Is Your Parachute? or Strengths Finder, that would be fine. But it has been, from its inception (whenever that was), infused with spiritual significance. And therein lies the danger.
If you love your Christian brother and sister, do not introduce them to this potentially soul-damaging practice. Maybe you are capable of taking a personality test, reading some results and not taking them too seriously. But your Christian brother or sister may be swept away by the Enneagram excitement. Your non-believing coworker or neighbor or dear family member may imitate your Enneagram use and find themselves further entrenched in demonic spirituality, rather than being led to Christ by the pure Word of God.
Unhitch from the Enneagram
We are called to deny ourselves and follow Christ daily. The Enneagram is ultimately self-focused. It creates a framework for identifying in a test rather than in Christ. Its purpose is to give insight that only God’s Word is sufficient to provide. And its promise to transform us is in direct contradiction to God’s promise to transform us by His power.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.