What Is the Enneagram? 3 Reasons Christians Should Use It with Caution- iBelieve.com Post
March 26, 2019
The popularity of The Enneagram, especially within Christian circles, really stirred up some questions as to why so many people were being drawn to this test that apparently brings about “breakthrough” in unhealthy personality traits or behavior. Why would a Christian use a source outside of the Bible to find self knowledge and find such identity in it? What is really behind this information?
When I pitched this idea to my editor at iBelieve, she really wanted me to discuss both the positives and concerns of The Enneagram (I tried to stay as close to her wishes as much as possible), but the more I researched about the origins of The Enneagram, the more concerned I became. Although the title of this article (which I did not pen) says Christians “should use it with caution,” I highly urge believers to use discernment in their involvement with this test/system at all. Any type of involvement in pagan/occultic practices should be taken very seriously. I pray you always look to the Lord and the Bible as your ultimate source of knowledge and identity.
______________________________________________________________________________When I was in high school, our science teacher taught us about biorhythms, which are mathematical measurements that can be charted and used to attempt to predict various cycles of a person’s life (physical, emotional, and intellectual) using the date of birth as a variable. In addition to completing a personal charting assignment for class, I would very frequently visit websites to review where my physical, emotional, and intellectual states would land that day/week/month. Would my emotional well-being land in the high mark or low mark this week? Is that why I was feeling ‘off’ today? Ironically enough, several controlled studies have deemed biorhythms as nothing more than pseudoscience, but there seemed to be something so captivating about possibly predicting my moods and understanding patterns of my behavior using this tool.
When the excitement of biorhythms faded, my best friend and I would hang out at Denny’s where she would perform “a reading” using Tarot cards while we sipped on our mediocre coffee. I would find some type of comfort in what was uncovered as each card was turned over. That’s why my life is a mess right now! Oh, maybe I should pursue that relationship after all!
I was a Christian. If you didn’t know this already, these practices are clearly New Age and occultic in nature. The Bible is very clear that God forbids such pagan practices and considers this divination, which is a grave sin (1 Samuel 15:23; see also Deuteronomy 18:9, 12 & 14).
Thankfully, when I got serious about following the Lord, I realized how dangerous it was to seek out answers from anything else but my Creator as well as seek other spiritual avenues that do not, above all, have a foundation in the Word of God.
Why would a Christian get caught up in these kinds of practices in the first place?
We Long to be Known
I think it stems from the desire to know ourselves and to be known. We long to discover answers to the unknown.
Let’s go back to Creation.
Adam and Eve enjoyed unbroken fellowship with God. They were naked and unashamed. Nothing was hidden. They were fully known by their Creator. As humans, if we are honest with ourselves, we long for this too.
Because of The Fall, we experience separation from God; there is this void in our hearts and a desire to be known by our Creator.
All of this- this desire to be fully known- had me wondering about another typology method that is pursued for such knowledge about our life and those we are connected to- personality tests, specifically The Enneagram.
If you are not familiar with the Enneagram, I will not judge you for living under a rock. I kid, I kid. Although it is not new- some even say it has ancient origins- it does seem to be a major buzzword lately on social media, even among Christian circles.
What is the Enneagram test?
The Enneagram is a personality typology method that is useful for understanding the inner workings and motivations behind human behavior, both healthy and unhealthy, and how we interact with others. Based upon their unique responses to the various questions in the test, everyone is considered to fall into one single type as their primary personality with a secondary personality trait called a “wing.” A person’s personality isn’t confined to just one type, but they can have traits belonging to other ones. There are nine types (“ennea” means “nine”) using the numbers one through nine. Each number has been given a descriptive name. For example, my enneagram number is a two, which is described as “The Helper.” My wing is a number three, which is described as “The Achiever.”
The Enneagram Institute boldly declares that this test is “one of the most powerful and insightful tools for understanding ourselves and others.”
According to the Institute, “… the Enneagram helps us to see ourselves at a deeper, more objective level and can be of invaluable assistance on our path to self-knowledge.”
Now, while I am not directly comparing reading Tarot cards or your horoscope to be the same thing as taking a personality test, I honestly believe the underlying desire is the same. We long to know answers about ourselves, about others, about the world around us. We are fascinated by discovering our identity, purpose, the meaning of the life- the whys and whats behind our existence.
Why Is the Enneagram So Popular?
We have this deep-seated desire to be known. Ultimately, I believe we equate being known to being loved.
Perhaps that is why the Enneagram test is so popular. There has always been a human desire to find identity, who we truly are, but might I boldly declare, Beloved, if you are a believer, this will only be fulfilled if found in Christ. We were created to be loved, but most importantly, loved by God.
Although engaging in the Enneagram may not blatantly fall under involvement in divination like Tarot card reading or astrology, I do think as Christians we should use this “powerful and insightful tool” with caution. The Enneagram has some questionable origins at best, but that is an entirely different topic for another time. I agree, the Enneagram test can be a very helpful tool to explore human behavior and motivations, but if we are going to utilize it as believers, there are a few things I think we should prayerfully consider.
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