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An Old Heresy in New Garb – The Enneagram

March 15, 2020

“Adam and Eve in Paradise (The Fall)” by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1533), Berlin State Museum (Accession No. 567), Source Google Cultural Institute (PD-Art, PD-old)

The heretical belief is spreading rapidly among Evangelicals and Roman Catholics that a personality typing system called the Enneagram offers the key to spiritual growth and understanding [1A].

Evangelical publishers are flooding the marketplace with books on this subject.  That these are being sanctioned by clergy makes them all the more dangerous [2].

Every Person Perfect

Similar to the now debunked Myers-Briggs system but claiming ancient origins, the Enneagram classifies personalities into 9 types, based on desire and motivation.

The personality is viewed as a set of coping mechanisms built around a person’s “true” identity [1B].  Followers are encouraged to engage “lovingly” with their flaws.

Oscar Ichazo (the humanist who created the Enneagram in its present form) maintains that “every person is perfect, fearless, and in loving unity with the entire cosmos” [1C].  There are no clear distinctions between good and evil.  Sin, if it exists at all, is merely a destructive tendency to be corrected.

Therein, of course, lies the rub.

A “Sin” Nature

“Our nature is not only utterly devoid of goodness, but so prolific in all kinds of evil, that it can never be idle… the whole man, from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, is so deluged, as it were, that no part remains exempt from sin, and, therefore, everything which proceeds from him is imputed as sin.”

-John Calvin

That we have a “sin” nature, as a result of the Fall, is unpleasant knowledge.  Self-love has always been preferable to shame and contrition.


For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many” (Rom. 5: 15).

Pelagianism is the belief that moral perfection is attainable without the grace of God.  Named after the monk Pelagius, this heresy dates to the 4th Century.

Pelagians reject the concept of original sin.  Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) do likewise.  Devotees of the Enneagram have now joined the mix.

Sound Doctrine

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim 4: 3-4).

Sadly, we are living at a time when many will not endure sound doctrine.

[1A, 1B, and 1C]  Forge, “The Self-Help Movement That Is Upending American Christianity” by Allegra Hobbs, 11/26/19,

[2]  Biola University, Talbot School of Theology, The Good Book Blog, “The Not-So-Sacred Enneagram – A Book Review of ‘The Sacred Enneagram’ by Christopher L. Heuertz” by Kenneth Buerding, 11/15/18,


From → Christian, Faith, Religion

  1. This is so true. Nowadays, church-goers / church hoppers only wanted to hear about blessings without accountability. A sad reality. 😦

  2. I’ve had a friend who’s a pastor’s wife recommend this to me. How sadly lacking in discernment the church is.

  3. A very good article on discerning the spirits, Anna! ⭐

  4. You nailed it with this post.
    Blessings to you and yours Anna.
    Be safe.

  5. A psychologist friend had me take an enneagram test before. The result of the test was what most people perceive my personality to be, anyway, so it was pointless. Besides, to be “boxed” in any of just 9 personalities, I think is limiting. And personalities, I think do not matter as much as character. What is important is that we reflect the light of Christ, and that we bear the fruits of the Spirit.

    Thanks for sharing this article, Anna. I didn’t know that churches are using this as a self-assessment tool (honestly, the test/questions felt a bit “childish”). Perhaps, they think the Word of God is not enough, or offensive. Until we repent of our sins, be forgiven, and in Christ be re-born, transformed, renewed, we will either stay the way we are or even become worse, and any perception of improvement is just a delusion–we will still fall short of the glory of God.

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