We interrupt our regularly scheduled 3-part series on the Enneagram to address some hurts that may be caused by the timing of this series. We had no idea it would turn into such a cultural moment — thanks in no small part to Jackie Hill Perry publicly announcement about the Enneagram days before we released the first blog. We are still going to talk about the scientific validity of the Enneagram (part 2), and we are still going to do a final ROAR through the Enneagram (part 3). But before we do, I feel a burden to speak to our mama bears who are feeling hurt, ashamed, angry, or even stupid at the sudden outcry against the Enneagram. To you, I want to say: “There is therefore now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Repeat it until you believe it.
Make no mistake, I do think the Lord is breaking a stronghold within the church that has been there for far too long. But in the midst of this, we need to address the Christian who asks, “What do I do if I feel like I was really helped by the Enneagram?” The enemy loves to jump in on what God is doing and surround it with a cloud of confusion and shame. If you, or someone you love has been a champion of the Enneagram and feels like someone just released a tsunami of condemnation on your head, here are some thoughts for you. I do think the Lord is breaking a stronghold within the church. But in the midst of this, we need to address the Christian who asks “What do I do if I feel like I was really helped by the #Enneagram?” Click To Tweet
1. Occult temptations always start by “working”
There have been a few times in my life when I dabbled in things that I later concluded to be occult. Each time, I forged ahead because there was just enough science (or theoretical science) for me to justify my interest. Each time, in His own way, the Lord made sure that I was no longer able to justify my study. I remember when it finally occurred to me that “occult” doesn’t mean “not true.” It’s not synonymous with “doesn’t work.” Occult means secret or hidden. There are almost always short-term “benefits” to dabbling in the occult. It wouldn’t entice anyone otherwise. Don’t feel ashamed because you were enticed by something that seemed good and true. Know that… Remember: #occult doesn't mean 'not true' or 'doesn't work.' It means hidden (or even forbidden). Click To Tweet
2. God can reap where He doesn’t sow
I have heard from a few friends saying that they felt like the Enneagram saved their marriage. They had gone to church classes and counselors and conferences trying to better understand themselves and their spouses. The Enneagram was like this “aha” moment where they could finally connect. To this, I want to say “Praise God that He reaps where He does not sow!” When a marriage is saved or a relationship is improved, all glory goes to God. God can use all things. However, we need to be aware that this is a grace that was extended to us because we serve a good God, not because God is giving us permission to follow something that is not from Him. And as we saw in part 1, the origins of the Enneagram have all the earmarks of occult activity through trance and automatic writing.
3. It’s not what you did, it’s what you do now
If you have felt helped by the Enneagram, be grateful to God… and move on. As I said in point #1, occult fascination always begins by hooking us in with things that feel true, good, beautiful, or that “work.” Pay attention now to how difficult it is to take the information that God revealed to you about yourself, and disconnect it from the Enneagram. Yes, it may have been during your time studying the Enneagram that you had aha moments. The question is, do you believe that it was the Lord who revealed those things to you or the Enneagram? If you are trusting God, you can trust that He will continue to refine you without any more help from the Enneagram. If you keep feeling pulled back to the Enneagram, ask yourself why? What are you trusting in? Pay attention to how often you still want to assign people a number or how often you excuse something because of your number. This isn’t to shame you. It is to help you realize that there may have been a bigger spiritual stronghold than you realized. Any tool that is truly of God will push us back to Him and His Word, not back to the tool.
How do you help people in your life who are feeling shamed for studying the Enneagram?
I know it can be tempting – especially for those who were uneasy from the start – to yell “HA! I KNEW IT! Told you so!!!” to someone whom they’d previously debated on the topic. But that is not how we as Christians should engage with those who are just escaping deception. Be honest: did you stay away from the Enneagram because you were sooooo much more spiritual or because it didn’t work for you to begin with? We’ve all been deceived at some moment or another. Be kind to others, for you have no clue how long it will be until you will look the fool. Treat them the way you will want to be treated when you are blinded by something that you thought was good. Do not rub each other’s faces in folly. We all need God’s kindness which leads to repentance. Whatever you do, do not make repenting more difficult for someone. Trust me, you don’t want to tempt God to unsaddle you from that moral high horse you’re on.
Instead remember, mama bears, “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). For it is love which binds us all together in perfect unity (Colossians 3:15). We have all been #deceived at one time or another. Don't rub each other's faces in it. Rather put on love, which binds us all together in perfect #unity. (Colossians 3:15) Click To Tweet
Hillary Morgan Ferrer is the founder of Mama Bear Apologetics. She is the chief author and editor of Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies and Mama Bear Apologetics Guide to Sexuality: Empowering Your Kids to Understand and Live Out God’s Design. Hillary has her masters in Biology and has been married to her husband, Dr. John D. Ferrer, for 15 years. Don’t let her cook for you. She’ll burn your house straight to the ground.
I apologize but I’m not sure what an Enneagram is? Please explain. Thank you.
Although I have not yet finished reading all the enneagram articles linked in the mama bears sight it seems as though the primary basis for the rejection of the system keeps resting on the origin being inspired by demons.
Having written that I have to ask myself what is my problem? If that is the origin, why am I not dropping the Enneagram like a thing set on fire by hell and running back to my Savior? Is it that hard for me to admit that I have been wrong?
While I continue to wrestle with these personal questions I would caution those now empowered to preach against the enneagram with the advice Paul gave the Corinthians. There was division in the church. There were Christians who were so worldly they were purchasing meat that had been used in the worship of demons. Not only that, there were so-called Christians who would even go to other people’s houses and publicly eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols.
Paul tells them:”…Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it”… But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience…”
Read 1 Corinthians 10:23-33 for fuller context.
To recognize something as demonic in origin and then to have a spiritual leader tell you that you are free to partake without asking questions is shocking until you put it in context of our larger narrative.
Every Christian on earth was born a child of Satan and enemy of God. We all have influences in our lives tracing back to demonic origins. But God, rich in mercy and abounding in grace, has chosen to redeem for Himself a people called out from the ranks of His enemy. And as His people are redeemed, they also begin to redeem the elements in their lives that although originated in darkness of themselves still contain good.
Every musical style on earth from gregorian chant to modern rock-n-roll and rap has been influenced by the darkness but redeemed by the people of God. Has Satan used our world’s musical styles to encourage the passions of the flesh? YES! And although he continues to do so we do not respond by abandoning all forms of music.
But music is integral to human culture and emotional expression, the Enneagram is not. Wouldn’t it be better to abandon those things with evil origins that are not necessary instead of refusing to admit when you are wrong?
That question would have to be answered with the question: “Is the Enneagram just psycho babel and pseudo science or does it have intrinsic value that is worth redeeming?”