Where did the Enneagram come from? Does it really matter? Yes! Yes it does! This week we take the time to dig into where it came from. Since Christians are using this as a tool to deal with their sin, understand themselves, and build their relationships, it certainly matters. What we found was nothing short of shocking and concerning. If you’re wondering “what’s the harm?” this episode is for you!

 

Episode Navigation

 

Beginning-ish: Joy’s gender and baby name reveal + why the desert is amazing.

 

15:00: Why are we talking about the enneagram? Where did it come from?

 

48:00—the end: Why does it matter?

 

For Further Study:

The Enneagram GPS: The Gnostic Path to Self

What is the Enneagram?

Richard Rohr denies Christ (listen to the last 10 minutes for specific quotes)

The Contemplative Vs. The Calculative Mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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29 Comments

  1. Amanda

    Very helpful episode!

    First, Summer, I can totally see you rocking a truck. We bought a new Dodge Ram last year. It is SO fun to drive. It’s huge and a beast. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂 I clearly, however, did not purchase the proper upgrades as I do not have an air-conditioned seat. lol We’d never bought new before but felt the resources were there to delight in the fruit of hard work and rejoice in the blessings of the Lord and buy a new vehicle that we would plan to keep for a good long time. The only drawback to a truck is that having four kids would be a tight fit and you can’t have more and still fit all your family in.

    Second, Joy, Congratulations! And you guys have chosen a beautiful name.

    Third, the book Personality Brokers is a good read. I’ve never been into personality typing (even though I have on multiple occasions been asked to one it at church – but don’t worry, they were usually “Christian” with a lion, eagle, sheep or something else as your “type”. {insert eye roll?}) I have long thought it was a justification of one’s sin. Don’t mind me being rude and unkind, I’m just this type. Don’t mind me being completely undisciplined, I’m this type. Blah, blah. No, I’m a sinner who needs to repent. Anyway, back to the book, it is very insightful to see the development of it.

    Thankfully, I’ve not seen much about the enneagram. But I believe this episode equipped me to confront it if I do see it.

    Thank you, again!

    Reply
    • Meg

      Thank you for this episode! Before we left our last church, our pastor’s wife led a women’s “Bible Study” of one of Rohr’s books and spent a week at one of his retreats. They also brought in an expert and did an Enneagram class. It all seemed wrong and off, but I had a hard time putting my finger on it or putting into words what was wrong. This was spot on and helps me formulate a response.

      Reply
  2. Dawn

    I am currently on a Sheologians binge. I just found you two a couple weeks ago. and this podcast is exactly what I was looking for. I have started at the beginning and am working my way through all your episodes.

    I started at the beginning, but when I saw the enneagram episode, I had to jump on it. Soo good. Thank you for calling out truth and staying true to keeping the focus on Christ.

    As I listen to you ladies, I wish I could sit and talk theology with ya’ll all day. Where have you been all my life!?

    Keep up the awesome work, and thank you for giving God glory in such an authentic and relatable way.

    Reply
    • Summer Jaeger

      We’ve mostly been in Phoenix. Nice to meet you, friend! And thank you for your incredibly kind encouragement!

      Reply
      • Dawn E Preston

        You are so welcome. I have grown up in the East Valley. Phoenix adjacent. I currently live in Tempe, AZ!

        So looking forward to working thru the rest of your episodes 🙂

        Thank you again!

        Reply
    • Rebekah

      Thank you ladies for driving into this topic and doing the research for those of us who just haven’t taken the to do so ourselves! I first heard about this test a year or two ago, and something seemed off, but I never took the time to delve deeper. I’m sharing this with all my friends!

      Reply
  3. Kylie

    Thanks for this episode. The women’s group I attended for the last 3 years decided to read, “Self to Lose, Self to Find: A Biblical Approach to the 9 Enneagram Types” for our “bible” study book the Spring. I gave the book a chance for 6 sessions (they spent over 4 months on it), but the choice to do this book in a women’s group was one of the reasons that lead me and my husband to leave the church and find a church home that is bible-based and has a more established, biblical and thought-out women’s ministry. I thought the church was bible-based 5 years ago when we started going, but I was a very new Christian looking to be led and didn’t see red flag other Christian’s would have that I now do see VERY clearly. I do think that church instilled a curiosity in me for learning who Christ is and a need to seek Him…but now I can see the church has always been self improvement focused and how that leads to a false/elevated view of yourself which does harm. I agree with what was said in the episode that if you look only to your sinful heart and self, you will be sad. You may be able to convince yourself for a bit that you’re working on yourself, but the message of scripture is to look to Christ. A more extensive view of self is not the end all, be all…He is the end all, be all. Exploration into the enneagram has tended to make me me self-obsessed, more judgement of others, and stuck with cyclical thoughts about how life is always going to be hard and this noisy in my head because I’m a X number on the enneagram. I haven’t found it to be useful and appreciated a take on it that calls it out as harmful, since it is usually discussed in Christian circles as an innocent tool…but not something that is harmful. Thank you for taking time to put this podcast together. I appreciate it.

    Reply
    • Lauren

      Thank you for sharing! So much truth and goodness and it was something I really needed to hear. I have a question though. What about Christian holidays that are deeply rooted in paganism and false god worship? Most Christians don’t have any problems celebrating these holidays and it blows my mind because there is so much of the occult and paganism in these days (Easter for example is rooted in the worship of the goddess Ishtar). They will say..”it is redeemed now and it means something totally different to me.” But as you’ve both pointed out with the enneagram…origins do matter. They matter to the God of Heaven and Earth and they should matter to us. He says in his word in Deuteronomy 12:4 that we should not worship Him in the ways that the pagans do but in the way that he chooses. And he chose!! He gave us holidays and special appointed times to celebrate him and that point to his son, Jesus. So I guess I’m just wondering about your thoughts on this. Not sure how you can rail on the enneagram (rightly so) but then say Christian holidays are fine to celebrate when they are just as much if not more so rooted in evil.

      Reply
      • Jasmin

        Hi Lauren! I had the same thoughts, too, while listening.

        Reply
    • Jessica Evans

      The story that Kylie shared is strikingly similar to our own! I was in a intensive discipleship class for a year and it was one of the many questionable things that arouse. I used to practice various forms of witchcraft and knew it for what it was immediately. I still felt the pressure to continue because I respected so many of the people teaching it. I am thankful that we took the time to learn and study about it at home. It isn’t self improvement that we have been called to attain, we have been called first and foremost to DENY ourselves. We don’t work to better ourselves, HE does that for us when we obey and LAY DOWN our own wills and ideas of what we are or “who” we are! Let’s listen and obey, and not fall into the gnostic traditions of men being minigods!

      Reply
  4. Tay

    I’m so scared to listen right now lol! I have been so sketched out by the enneagram fad and have kind of avoided it. Then last week someone busted out the quiz at my discipleship group… And now this. I think I’m about to be convicted.

    Reply
  5. Rachael Becker

    I enjoyed listening to this podcast. It was the most passionate rejection of the enneagram that I have heard. And even though you didn’t share the secret word, I did listen to the whole thing.

    I agree with everything you said about Jesus. I don’t agree with some of the stuff you said about the enneagram. I really wish you would have actually read Rhors book, The Enneagram, a Christian perspective. I felt confused by your research (or your acceptance of someone else’s research) on the origins of it, because that wasn’t what Rhor said in his book. I haven’t listened to the video you mentioned, but I am going to see your link about him denying Christ. That seems problematic (and surprising to me given I read his whole book) to me. I certainly don’t think the enneagram is a substitute for the holy spirit’s sanctifying work in us, though I can and do see how easy it would be for a person to try to better themself in investigating their enneagram type, which I agree is the opposite of the gospel.

    Lastly, I have an honest question that I’ve been mulling over for several years. What is the Holy Spirit? I certainly don’t need you to quote me the Bible, I could probably quote you nearly all the relevant scriptures, but what I am asking is how you see the Holy Spirit working now, in this age, in your life. How is the Holy Spirit working here? Certainly it is more than the Bible. How is the Holy Spirit working in our culture, in others, in the world through the course of history?
    Are there not elements of truth within the context of the enneagram? Could the holy Spirit work through this? I don’t have the answers to these questions but I wonder. I really felt like you both had already condemned the enneagram before you even considered it. Because of what your former occult friend said, because it is a personality test, or whatever. You may be right in doing so, and perhaps the holy spirit led me to your podcast so I could make a better judgement regarding it. Or perhaps something else.

    Reply
    • Summer Jaeger

      Hi, friend!

      Definitely check out the links added. Rohr talks about Jesus and Christianity–but he ultimately rejects Jesus, the real Jesus, that we read about in Scripture.

      And excellent question! My dad wrote a book about the Trinity, and we had him on awhile back to discuss the Holy Spirit with us. I hope this is beneficial to you! https://www.sheologians.com/holy-spirit-not-genie-dr-james-white/

      Reply
      • Rachael

        Summer, I was actually asking for your personal experience with the Holy Spirit. Not someone else’s teaching.

        Reply
        • Summer Jaeger

          My “personal experience” doesn’t matter. What Scripture says does, which is why I shared an episode discussing what the Scripture says about the Holy Spirit with someone who has spent decades studying Scripture.

          Reply
    • Abigail Zhao

      Thank you for sharing. As I also have read the Enneagram’s Christian history. And I’ve found the Enneagram very helpful for understanding myself. It’s also not technically a personality test.

      Reply
    • Tricia

      Rachael,
      I agree with all you’ve said here. I’ve read Richard Rohr’s entire book, The Enneagram, a Christian Perspective, and while I don’t agree with all of his teachings, he certainly claims Jesus as his Savior and sees the enneagram as a wonderful tool to help us understand the true and unique identity that Our Father has created each of us to walk fully in. He does not see it as a replacement for Our Father, but simply a tool to help us understand ourselves and others and encourage us to strive to be our best selves. There is no proof that the origins of the enneagram are not Christian. I find it unfortunate that many Christians tend to be fearful of so much.
      Personally, I’ve been studying the enneagram for the past 6 years, as have many of my church leaders. It has helped my family grow closer and helped all of us become better ministers to those God has placed in our paths because we can better understand where we all go in stressful and healthy situations, and with that we are more able to see others through His eyes and not our own limited human eyes.

      Reply
  6. Mary

    Thank you for your insight on the Enneagram.

    Basing your personality on one of the 9 points of the Enneagram is like basing your personality on one of the 12 zodiac signs of Astrology. It’s not based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    For the past couple years, I have listened to the weekly podcasts of a Christian marriage counselor. She seems to always mention her Enneagram number. Some of her Christian guests have revealed their number as well. This counselor encourages listeners to take the Enneagram test, so I saved a link to do so.

    Last night on Facebook, a young 30-something friend mentioned the occult within the Enneagram and encouraged everyone to listen to your podcast, which I did this morning. I, too, sensed an occult vibe behind the Enneagram symbol when I first saw it on your podcast. I thank the Lord that I did not take the Enneagram test.

    The Ennegram definitely has a likeness to Astrology. My dad’s sister introduced my mom, my sisters and me to Astrology at the height of zodiac signs coming to the forefront of pop-culture during the late 60s and early 70s.

    At that time, my father was on a Navy ship in the middle of the Pacific, so he was unaware that his sister shared such dark stuff with his wife and five daughters. My mother thought Ouija boards and astrological charts were fun and games. (Astrological charts are the telling of future events in your life based on your date & time of birth.) Mom seemed oblivious that the occult was behind what my aunt brought into our home. I was a young tender-hearted teen and didn’t know any better, especially since my mom and my aunt thought it was okay. Astrology snuck into my impressionable heart, soul, body and mind even though I considered myself a Christian. It lingered inside of me for many years.

    However, I can look back now and remember at the get-go that there was something odd and creepy about all of it.

    A case in point about how the darkness of Astrology took hold of me is that, for so long, I believed that just because my zodiac sign was a water sign, I got along better with other people who were water signs (Scorpio, Pieces and Cancer), and especially so with a love interest. I thought that people who were non-water signs were not as compatible with me. I remember specifically reading about that compatibility mindset as a teenager.

    When you box yourself into such a mindset, you can push away or ignore the people and encounters that God has in store for you. I know I did.

    Therefore, basing your personality type on one of the nine points of the Enneagram is just like basing your personality on one of the twelve zodiac signs of Astrology. It’s baloney!

    Like I said, my aunt introduced me to all of this occult stuff when I was a young teen. Even now in her late 70s, she still has crystals and other mystical objects and books in her home. Recently, she mentioned some mediation course she is taking that sounds New Age.

    I thank God that He set me on the right path in my 20s.

    P.S. Just some FYI about me. I was raised Catholic, so I knew about Jesus as a youngster but was never taught about a personal relationship with a Him. I’ve been walking with Him since my 30s and have attended Bible-based churches wherever I have lived.

    Reply
  7. Karen

    I absolutely love listening to you two. You crack me up. And I’m enjoying the baby talk. I’m way past babies & im waiting for the next phase of babies to start….grandchildren.

    I am a very busy homeschool mom of 7 trying to keep up with the latest “trends” so I can engage with my older children. I have no time to do much research into things like this. I very much appreciate your leg work. In fact, you two were the ones who first introduced critical theory to me. Very helpful!!

    I kept thinking through your whole episode how these ideas count out the work of the Spirit. Isn’t He supposed to be who convicts us of sin? He should to be who leads us to be Christ-like. I don’t want to be me-like. I’m pretty disturbing and think no one should be like me. Seek His righteousness. Just thinking with my fingers. Lol!!!

    I have a 20yod daughter who loves studying personality. I didn’t mind it at first until I began to realize she was navel gazing way too much. It was healthy for her. Very condemning. And per another’s point above, there was excuse for sin because “that’s just the way I am.” I’ve heard that from other older women in my life that should know better.

    Anyway, I never comment on blogs. But I appreciated all the work you put in to help those of us who don’t have time. I had a check in my spirit the moment I heard about the enneagram. And I attend a church right now where they are steeped in. I haven’t quite known how to engage the younger women I encounter. Let’s just say I have moved into the Titus 2 “older” woman. I’m praying for wisdom to lead.

    Reply
    • Summer Jaeger

      Thank you so much for your kind words! And that’s a prayer I think we can safely say that God loves to answer—give me wisdom!

      Reply
  8. Kara

    Thank you so much for discussing this! I’ve immensely enjoyed every podcast of yours I’ve listened to so far.

    Reply
    • Amy

      The church also thought that the earth was the center of the universe.

      Reply
  9. Ray

    I just came across your website and I’m shocked at your scathing review of Richard Rohr’s falling upward YouTube video where you say he denies Christ. I’ve watched that hour long YouTube video several times because what he says in it has meant the world to me. I’ve studied several of his books at this point along with writings by James Finely, Cynthia Bourgeault, Thomas Merton, and Thomas Keating. I don’t know how anyone can say these people aren’t/weren’t Christ filled. I’ve never heard or read them say they deny Christ. Ever. Where do you get that idea? The Universal Christ by Rohr was the biggest breath of fresh air I’ve ever experienced in this old relic of a religion.

    The way a lot of these comments talk about Jesus and Christianity reminds me why I was ready to rip the whole thing out of myself. You should actually study him and those like him before you label him a Christ denier.

    Reply
  10. Matt

    The enneagram has helped me and a lot of other people in our walks with the Lord. It’s helped me Better understand how I am able to connect and walk with him.Obviously it should never take the place of scripture. And if there are believers out there that are using it for a substitute for scripture than they are doing it wrong. It has helped me put words to certain ways that I think and feel and it’s been good. For you to assume that all Christians are using this as a substitute for scripture or as a main way to connect with Jesus is naïve. Also saying that we shouldn’t know ourselves?? Really? God doesn’t want us to not know ourselves. He wants us to know how we connect with him best. he wants us to know our skills and how we can use our talents to glorify him and further his kingdom. We should obviously still trust him and have faith when we don’t have all the answers But that shouldn’t stop us from still seeking and wanting to know more about how we are wired. And also you don’t use the enneagram for sanctification. It can be a God given tool to help you be more aware of sin patterns in your life so you can let Jesus in and heal you in those areas. Because it is all about Christ like you said. Also the plane analogy… you make it sound like the enneagram totally derails the journey we are on of becoming more Christ like when if used the right way can help you in your spiritual growth. But I would also say it’s Ok to go outside the Bible for spiritual growth. Obviously the Bible should be our main source but Also there’s so many awesome books out there by solid believers who love Jesus and want to help others walk well with Jesus. The enneagram is no different. In terms of origin I have no argument. It’s a bummer that that’s how it came about. But it’s it awesome that we serve a God who has taken something that was meant for pagan ritual or whatever you were saying and turned into something that has helped a lot of people in their spiritual growth and walks with Christ? I get there have been some people that have used the enneagram the wrong way and have said and done stupid things along the way and have taken a lot of things out of context in terms of using it. I think if you understood it more in terms of how other Believers are using it you would see that there isn’t anything wrong with using it. I would encourage you to read Books like, The Sacred enneagram: finding your unique path to spiritual growth, Enneagram made easy, and my favorite The road back to you. I think it will give you more of an insight as to what it’s being used for. Because there is SO much more to it than what you have mentioned in this podcast. I have more but I’ll end it there!

    Reply
    • Jasmin

      Hi Matt! I share your sentiments. Thanks for writing them down here.

      Reply
    • Elizabeth

      I’m with you, Matt.

      Reply
    • Stacey

      Yes! These are my thoughts as well.

      Reply

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