L.L. (Don) Veinot Jr. is co-founder and President of Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc., a national apologetics ministry and mission to new religious movements based in Wonder Lake, IL., with a branch office in Quincy, IL and Cape Coral, FL.
He, along with his wife of 50 years, Joy, have been involved in discernment ministry as missionaries to New Religious Movements since 1987. He is a frequent guest on various radio and television broadcasts including The John Ankerberg Show as well as being a staff researcher and writer for the Midwest Outreach Journal and is co-author of, Richard Rohr and the Enneagram Secret, A Matter of Basic Principles: Bill Gothard and the Christian Life, contributing author of Preserving Evangelical Unity: Welcoming Diversity in Non-Essentials, as well as articles in the CRI Journal, PFO Quarterly Journal, Campus Life Magazine, Journal of the International Society of Christian Apologetics, Midwestern Journal of Theology, The Christian Post and other periodicals.
He is also co-host of the weekly “Unknown Webcast” on the Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc YouTube Channel. He was ordained to the ministry by West Suburban Community Church of Lombard, IL, at the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem, Israel in March of 1997. Don is a charter member of ISCA (International Society of Christian Apologetics) and is also the current President of Evangelical Ministries to New Religions (EMNR), a consortium of Counter cult/apologetic ministries and missions to non-Christians.
Don: Welcome to the 2021 Berean Call convention. We are so glad to be part of this. My name is Don Veinot. I’m president of Midwest Christian Outreach Inc., which is a mission to cults and non-Christian religions. We’re based in Wonder Lake, Illinois with offices in a few other parts of the country. You can contact us through our website, midwestoutreach.org. You can catch us on our YouTube channel Midwest Christian Outreach Inc., also on Facebook, Twitter, and a number of other social media. You can get to all of that through our midwestoutreach.org website.
I think for today we want to start out with a story first. It isn’t true, it’s just a story, but it is an important story to help us understand how definitions matter.
About a hundred years ago, the pope decided that all of the Jews would have to leave the Vatican. And so, as you might imagine, there was an uproar in the Jewish community. And as they thought about it, they challenged the pope to a debate. If the pope won, they decided they would leave. If they won, they could stay. The pope agreed.
So the community selected a middle aged man by the name of Moishe, and Moishe asked for one addition to the debate, just to keep things more interesting: neither side would be allowed to talk. And the pope agreed.
The day of the debate came. The pope and Moishe sat across from each other for a few minutes. The pope then raised three fingers. Moishe, without hesitating, raised one finger. The pope then waved his fingers in a circle around his head, and Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat. The pope took out a wafer and a glass of wine, and Moishe took out an apple, at which point the pope got up and said, “I give up. This man is too good. The Jews can stay.”
A little while later, back at the meeting between the pope and the bishops, they asked what happened, and he said, “Well, first I raised three fingers to demonstrate that God exists as three persons. He raised one finger to demonstrate that there was one God common to all of our religions. I waved my fingers in a circle to demonstrate that God is all around us, and he pointed to the ground to point out that God is right here with us. I took out a wafer and a glass of wine to point out that God absolves us of sin, and he took out an apple pointing to original sin. He had an answer for everything. What could I do?”
Back in the Jewish community, they said, “So what happened?”
And he said, “Well, first he said, ‘You Jews have three days to get out of town.’ And I said, ‘Not one of us is leaving.’ Then he said the whole city would be cleared of Jews, and I said, ‘We’re going to stay right here.’ And then, I don’t know! He took out his lunch so I took out mine.”
Clearly they had a problem of communication.
Deception thrives on a lack of definition. So that is going to be critical, and it’s part of a theme of what we’re going to be talking about through this talk.
We’re going to start with a passage from 2 Timothy 3. Paul writes to this young pastor, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
Deceiving and being deceived. Last days’ deception will include those who are knowingly deceiving and, in some cases, are deceived deceivers. They believe what they’re telling you, but that’s only because they have been deceived into believing it.
Let’s start with some context of the passage, context first. My home church does this, and I love that our pastor does this, because it gives us a flavor for why was the apostle writing what he was writing when he was writing it, and to whom he was writing it.
This last days’ epistle of Paul’s comes about a year after he wrote to another pastor by the name of Titus, and in Titus 1 he talks about a deceiver who was upsetting whole houses. Deception has been an ongoing problem really since the Garden. Nearly all of the New Testament epistles were written to correct false teaching, bad doctrine, and bad behavior.
In 2 Timothy 3, Paul is both talking to them at that time and looking down the road. And in chapter 3, just a few verses earlier, he writes this: “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to parents…” I love that one—disobedient to parents! “…ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” Second Timothy 3:2-5.
Get that picture: proud, boastful, arrogant, disobedient to parents. You have a chaotic generation that are clamoring to be “me first,” and taking over the culture in which they’re making these unreasonable demands. They have the pretense of holiness—what they’re doing feels righteous to them—but that’s only because they’re deceived, and in turn are deceiving others.
In the first 300 years of the church, God used it to transform culture from a mean pagan society to what we now know as Western culture. It’s interesting, recently in the last two years, we have seen well-known atheists, actually, coming out in defense of Christianity. Richard Dawkins, for example, 2018, did a 39-word tweet saying, “We need to be really careful about what comes next,” because he was concerned about where society was going.
Atheist Tom Holland came out recently with a very good book called Dominion in which he is arguing that if it hadn’t been for the church, the first 300 years of the church’s existence, we wouldn’t have Western culture today. And he goes so far as to say in an interview that you wouldn’t have a “woke” generation if it hadn’t been for the church changing culture.
So for 300 years, the church transformed culture. Culture has been returning the favor over the last 200 years, transforming the church. How is that? Well, the church began having a focus on getting unbelievers into the door to proclaim the gospel. There was less serious teaching and discipling within the church. The emphasis was trying to figure out ways and gimmicks to get unbelievers in the doors.
Most of civilization (and, in fact, most people in church) acquire their worldview, I would say, by osmosis. It sorts of drifts into our brains from the media we watch, the television shows we see, the films we partake of, the books we read, the magazines that we read, and the people that we hang around with. Peer pressure has a lot to do with that. There is very little discipleship training in church history, logic, or developing a worldview. How many churches can you point to that say, “We have a worldview class that all of you need to be a part of. We have training in biblical history and church history”? Not too many—most of them are trying to figure out ways to engage their congregation, to invite unbelievers in, to sneak up on them with the gospel. That’s not all churches, obviously, but it is a fair amount of them, and unfortunately the bringing in culture changes the church and transforms its worldview.
In the last six years or so, we’ve been witnessing the fruits of what we might look at as the repaganizing of Western culture in the church as well as in culture. The deceivers and the deceived are more and more spokespersons and thought shapers of culture and the church, and they, in fact, are controlling the discussion. Why? Because they control the dictionary! How do we see that? Well, things like—we used to know, two years ago, what a male and a female was. We no longer know that because they’ve changed the definition of gender to accommodate their new worldview. They control the dictionary.
On June 9-10 of 2019, the Southern Baptist Convention had their national convention. They adopted something called Resolution 9, which affirmed “critical race theory.” Most of you by now have probably heard of that. It is in all of the news. We—our federal government is currently pressing to have it taught in all schools throughout the nation, and the state I live in, the state of Illinois, it is part of the church of the school curriculum for K-12. Critical race theory: the idea that racism is systemic, all whites are racist just by virtue of their color, and you can’t stop being racist.
On May 25 of 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died in police custody, and as a nation, we saw the results of the problems of the dictionary. A little-known group, Black Lives Matter, which had been founded in 2013, took center stage nationally. They were front and center of what progressive media insisted were peaceful protests, but in reality were instead riots.
So who is BLM, and is their movement and CRT connected? Well, we looked into that in 2020, and we posted our article, “The Occult Religion of Black Lives Matter,” and we did that for some interesting reasons. Patrisse Cullors—by the way, if you go to our website you can just look that up, look up that title, and you can read the entire article. But one of the founders, one of the cofounders, Patrisse Cullors, publicly stated that they are trained Marxists. Many supposed it is a social and political movement. However, as we listen to the founders and leaders of #blacklivesmatter, we discover it is only tangentially a social and political movement. It is guided and informed by the dogma, practices, and dark rituals of an occult religion called Ifa.
Ifa originates with the Yoruba people in western Africa. One of the major tenants and practices of Ifa is divination. They are calling on and calling up the supposed spirits of the dead and engaging in ancestor worship.
Patrisse and cofounder Melina Abdullah created a documentary titled A Prayer for the Runner by Patrisse Cullors. Patrisse and cofounder are Ifa adherents, Melina Abdullah—engage in an explanatory discussion of the religious faith and how integral it is to what they do in BLM.
Now, just so you understand what’s going on: when you watch them at a protest, getting ready to start the protest, you’ll see them calling out names. Those are names of the deceased. They are doing that for a reason—they are calling on them to come and indwell them, and to guide the march, to empower them, to do the work required to bring the “abusers” to task for what they have done.
They pour out libations and offer prayers to them. It is a religion, and it is a religion that is masking as a social and political movement. They have raised quite a lot of money. And recently, in fact, as we’re taping this right now, just two days earlier Patrisse had announced that she’s going to be retiring from #blacklivesmatter after they’ve raised over $90 million. It’s sort of interesting.
She was a Jehovah’s Witness. That’s probably important to know. She went on a search for her “ancestral roots” to find something more spiritually, and what she found was Ifa, an occult religion in Africa, which she now practices and is a priestess for. [She] has brought this to our federal government and schools through protests and marches. It’s a religious organization. She is deceived and is in turn deceiving others.
We’re going to talk mostly today about the Enneagram, and it’s important because it is pervasive in the church today. When I first talk to people about it, often times they’ll go, “I don’t even know what that is.” So let’s start with explaining what the symbol is, and then we’re going to take you through the process of understanding what the Enneagram is.
The Enneagram is from the Greek word ennea, meaning “nine,” and gramma, meaning “written” or “drawn.” So the Enneagram is a written or drawn symbol, and that’s really all it is. The numbers were not part of the original drawing. They were added on at a later time, but this is the symbol. It’s a circle with three geometric figures within it that intersect the outer circle at nine points. As we go through this, we’re going to use the acronym GODS, and that stands for Growth, Origins, Doctrine, and Salvageable, and this will become more clear as we go along why we went with this: Growth, Origins, Doctrine, and Salvageable.
Let’s look at growth. Prior to 2016, this was not a thing in the church. This was introduced from the New Age and occultism into the church in 2016 through Suzanne Stabile and Ian Cron’s book The Road Back to You. Suzanne Stabile is a disciple of a Franciscan monk by the name of Richard Rohr. Ian Cron teaches at Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation, so they’re all connected. This will become apparent why this is important in a little bit.
InterVarsity Press took it from the New Age occultism into the church through this particular book. In 2017, The Sacred Enneagram was written by Christopher Heuertz and published by Thomas Nelson. Christopher Heuertz is a disciple of Richard Rohr, who also wrote the forward to the book. It has sold over 100,000 copies. Suzanne Stabile’s book has sold over 500,000 copies.
In 2018, Suzanne Stabile’s book The Path Between Us came out, also from InterVarsity Press. In 2019…okay, 2019 Thomas Nelson produced the Enneagram Collection—Beth McCord, who is trained by five New Agers. The five New Agers are psychic Helen Palmer; Russ Hudson, cofounder of the Enneagram Institute; Jessica Dibb; Katherine Fauvre; and Ginger Lapid Bogda, five New Agers that she names as her trainers.
Inside Suzanne Stabile’s books, she has—we have copies of the pages up there. You probably can’t read them so I’ll explain them in a minute or so—but she is thanking New Agers for leading the way in training her. We also have a view from a 1979 publication, Mother Jones Magazine, with Helen Palmer, New Age psychic, and there’s a whole story about her in there. So as far back as 1979 it was well known that she was a New Age psychic.
Who are the ones listed on these pages? Well, let’s look at them. Richard Rohr—Richard Rohr is a Franciscan monk. He runs the Center for Action and Contemplation. He is currently the go-to theologian for much of the progressive church, a leader in the contemplative prayer movement and the sort-of “master trainer” and teacher for the Enneagram.
Claudio Naranjo is named—we’ll talk about him in a few minutes.
Don Riso, New Ager. Russ Hudson, New Ager. Helen Palmer, psychic New Ager. David Daniels, New Ager. Beatrice Chestnut, New Ager. Kathleen Hurley, New Ager. Theodore Donson, Sandra Maitri, Lynette Shepherd, Clarence Thompson, Roxanne Howe-Murphy—all New Agers. So Suzanne Stabile is thanking all New Agers and occultists for her training and guidance.
How far has this swept? Now, by 2019 we had basically 11 books, pro-Enneagram books, in the Christian market from Christian publishers—InterVarsity Press, Thomas Nelson Publishers, and Zondervan. It’s also in the homeschool movement. We have a Christian school now enrolling that has Enneagram as part of what they are teaching.
Lynna Sutherland of the LIVE without Training Wheels podcast is promoting the Enneagram for the homeschool mom. We contacted her, and she admits the Enneagram is pagan, and writes back, “Some are not comfortable making use of that information.” That would be an understatement for a Christian homeschooler, I think.
Beautiful Feet Books was contacted, as well. They replied that the owner believes in the Enneagram and has been using it for 25 years. That would mean he learned it from New Agers, psychics, and occultists.
In the beginning of 2020, there were about 12 Enneagram—pro-Enneagram books in the Christian market. Today there are over 30, and they are growing at an astounding rate. They have titles like The Enneagram Goes to Church.
And we have coaching organizations like Beth McCord’s Your Enneagram Coach. John Fushi’s Gospel Enneagram—if you go to John Fushi’s Gospel Enneagram, he will train you to either be an Enneagram entrepreneur, or as a pastor you can teach it to your entire congregation.
This is growing rapidly through entire churches, where the pastor and leadership team are taken through Enneagram training. They then return and are doing nine-week series from the pulpit on the Enneagram. They are using it in many cases to decide where you should serve in the church based on your Enneagram number. This is going everywhere in the church.
And, oddly enough, wherever you find the Enneagram, it is pretty likely you’re going to find critical race theory. They seem to go hand in hand through the church.
So it’s a problem, and something that we need to be aware of.
What about its origins? Where does it begin? Well, it begins with George Ivanovich Gurdjieff. He’s described as a “Russian philosopher, mystic, spiritual teacher, and composer of Armenian and Greek descent.” His followers believed him to be an enlightened master. He, like so many before him and after him, are in search of the “divine within.”
He created the original drawing and unveiled it to the West in 1916. He also claimed it explains everything about the cosmos. If you look at the Enneagram and you understand the math of the Enneagram, you can explain everything about the cosmos from the Enneagram. It’s important to know this, because if you talk with those who are involved in Enneagram, they will start telling you a story that it is ancient, that it goes back at least to the 4th century, that it has been part of the church history since then. That is not true. It began in 1916 with George Gurdjieff.
The next one it goes to was one of his followers, P. D. Ouspensky, a Russian esoterisist who studied directly under Gurdjieff for 10 years, and he wrote and taught about the esoteric doctrine of Gurdjieff. He really loved this guy’s teachings. He too was looking for his “inner divinity.”
The figure with the numbers, which correspond actually to octaves, as you look here, was published in 1949 in his book In Search of the Miraculous. Why does it have the octaves on there? Because Gurdjieff believed that you had to tie the Enneagram to the musical scale. And, in fact, he wrote a number of dance routines, because you could only really understand the Enneagram through movement, he thought. And even if you go on YouTube today and you look up Gurdjieff dance troupes, you will find them performing any number—I think there are about 15 of them or so. They still have Gurdjieff dance troupes out there today performing in dance contests and so forth around the world with this thing. The music, I have to tell you, is really, really boring, but it gives you an idea on what they’re doing.
So tied to the musical octaves, there’s…he was enamored with the numbers three and seven, what he called the “laws of three and seven.” And if you did certain calculations in a certain way, you would come up with certain fixed points that could explain to you the beginning, and then how things have developed and why they are what they are today.
You can look this up even in Wiki: “Fourth Way Enneagram.” It kind of gives you the math of it, but makes me go cross-eyed when I read it.
For those who are concerned about trying to take notes on this, you could get our book—we explain a great deal of this, and we compare it with biblical teaching—Richard Rohr and the Enneagram Secret. You can order it directly from The Berean Call. They handle it. You can also go to the book’s website, enneagramsecret.com. At that website there is a number of things you can get to. We have discussions between myself and Marcia Montenegro.
There are several videos that have been done and interviews. One of the most recent ones is a point/counterpoint done on a UK program called—it’s Justin Brierley does it—and it’s a point/counterpoint between Marcia Montenegro and the author of the book The Enneagram Goes to Church, Todd Wilson. Todd Wilson was a pastor. He founded…cofounded and is president of the Center for Pastor Theologians. You would think he’s concerned about theology, but he is pro-Enneagram. So Marcia and he go point by point through the issues. And oddly enough, he admits that it is from the occult. He admits everything that she named about it, and his conclusion was, “It doesn’t matter, because we can transform it into a Christian tool.” Why you would want to do that is because you’re deceived, I would suggest.
The next Enneagram stop along the way is Bolivian-born Óscar Ichazo. He came in contact with the image and he was involved in the Human Potential Movement. And like Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, and others, was in search of enlightenment. He was a New Ager in search of enlightenment. He founded the Arica School in Chilé in 1968, and in 1973 Rampart Magazine wrote that the Arica School is “A body of techniques for cosmic consciousness-raising and an ideology to relate to the world in an awakened way.” The Arica School website explains, “All of Oscar’s Teachings are presented through the Arica School of Knowledge which, like all classical schools of knowledge, offers a complete method of Enlightenment.” If you don’t think the Bible is enough, you can go and become enlightened at the Arica School.
He became enlightened about the image from two spirit beings, one named Metatron and the other one, the Green Qutb. Who is the Green Qutb? I don’t really know, but it was a being that appeared to him and enlightened him. Metatron comes from Jewish kabbalah history, which is a mystical movement within Judaism.
He applied the knowledge he received from these two beings to what he termed “ego fixations.” Again, it was still New Age occultism in search of spiritual enlightenment. You had the deceived continuing in their deception and passing that deception on to others.
The next one is Claudio Naranjo. Claudio Naranjo was one of his students. He was one of the fathers of the Higher Consciousness Movement through psychedelic drugs—pretty big advocate, actually, for psychedelic drugs. And Claudio went even further. He invented a false history of the Enneagram. The idea of it being ancient, dating back to the 4th century or perhaps before is something he invented. He received information about the Enneagram types—all of the Enneagram types—through the occult practice of automatic writing, and he joined the Esalen Institute in the 1960s.
For those who are unfamiliar with that, I’m a crybaby boomer, so I’m sort of familiar with it. The Esalen Institute is in Big Sur, California. It was the place to be in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, where you could get naked, drop acid, and get in touch with the universe. And they actually still carry a lot of that on even to this day so you could have better spirituality through pharmacy.
How do we know that what I have just said is true? We have, from 2010, Claudio Naranjo was being interviewed on this very thing, and he affirms everything we’ve said about the origins of the history and how he procured the types.
Interviewer: But here’s the Enneagram, which is a nine-figure. It’s more than a nine-figure, because actually it’s a folded tesseract. It also has been described as a two-dimensional representation of a rapidly unfolding lotus flower, which I like.
You were referring to Oscar Ichazo…
Claudio: Oscar Ichazo, who I learned it from. He, at the time, he used to say he had learned it from a very ancient source, from a Sumerian, Babylonian source…
Interviewer: We know that to not be true.
Claudio: …and lately he’s been claiming that he got it directly from a higher source and not from a historical source—from inspiration, from revelation. That is his word. And…
Interviewer: That’s probably closer to the truth.
Claudio: Yes, yes! I trust it. But…
Interviewer: I get a lot of stuff from…I’m serious! I get a lot of my information from higher authorities, and so do you.
Claudio: Yes, yes!
Interviewer: And we know that, and we trust this.
Claudio: Yes. And just like Oscar did not make a difference between what was his finding from inside of what he got from higher authority and what he got from word-to-mouth teachings…
Claudio: …which was negligible, just as he didn’t make a distinction, I adopted the same style. So when the people heard me, they thought I was talking about something that comes from Babylonian origins through Oscar Ichazo to me.
Interviewer: Well, yeah, because they trust that more. They’re…being scholars, they trust the scholarship route. Yeah.
Claudio: Yeah, I thought it made sense actually. When I was…I chose to do that intentionally. And I was remembering a recommendation of Oscar Wilde, who said, “If you want an idea of yours to become famous, attribute it to a famous person.”
Interviewer: That’s right.
Claudio: So I was more interested in…
Interviewer: You become famous…
Claudio: So at a conference I told them I had made up this tale that all this came from millennia ago…
Interviewer: From Babylonian sources.
Claudio: …and that this information came from the Sufis. I told them that actually Oscar Ichazo had not described any of the ennea types either. Actually, in the seven months we spent with him, he devoted about six hours to talk about the Enneagram, but he never came to describe any one of the types.
Interviewer 2: That was in Arica, Chile.
Claudio: In Arica, Chile, yeah. So that came from my own observations, but mostly from automatic writing.
Interviewer 2: Automatic writing?
Claudio: Yeah. It came to me through automatic writing.
Interviewer: What did?
Claudio: The specific information…
Interviewer: Ennea types?
Claudio: …about ennea types…
Don: So he got this specific information through automatic writing about ennea types. All of the ennea types come through the occult practice of automatic writing. He invented the history—why? Because he remembered Oscar Wilde saying, “If you want something to be famous, attribute it to a famous person.” If you attribute it to ancient origins in the church, in Sufism, in something that predates us by hundreds of years, it seems to have more credibility as “ancient wisdom,” they like to call it. It’s a false story. People have been deceived by this story, and even now as I write books and I try to recount it, they will start it with words like, “We have heard,” or “It has been said that,” and then they try to do this history. We do deal with that extensively in our book, by the way.
Roman Catholic Bob Oakes spent some time at Esalen where he received the Enneagram from none other than Claudio Naranjo. Bob Oakes went on to teach it to two specifically newly minted priests. He taught it to others, as well, but two for the sake of our discussion today are Jesuit Mitch Pacwa and Franciscan Richard Rohr.
In 1992, both of them came out with books, but they are in opposition to each other. Mitch Pacwa’s book is Catholics and the New Age: How Good People Are Being Deceived by the Enneagram, Freudian Psychology, and the New Age; Richard Rohr’s book, Discovering the Enneagram: An Ancient Tool for a New Spiritual Journey. In that 1992 edition, he writes this: “The Enneagram is a mysterious model of the psyche that is not originally Christian.” So in 1992, they knew this wasn’t originally Christian.
On page 15, they write, “I believe that the Enneagram can help us to find a deeper and more authentic relationship with God—even though it was not discovered by Christians.” He’s clear to say this isn’t Christian. It wasn’t invented by Christians, it wasn’t discovered by Christians. In 1992 he knew that.
He also believes that you have to go to other sources to really get connected to God, that the Bible is insufficient. Most of us would affirm that the Bible was sufficient for faith and practice. It tells us what we have to know as human beings what God expects of us and how to behave toward one another. It tells us that the Holy Spirit is the one who sanctifies us and grows us to be more like Christ. It is an ongoing work that God is performing to us. It isn’t something that we have to go in search of. I sometimes have to tell my kids and also new believers that I’m discipling that God is doing a work in you. He’s going to change you. He’s going to make you more like Christ. And here’s your choice, and you only have really two choices in this matter: you can do it easy, or you can do it hard. But rest assured, you’re going to do it, and the reason you’re going to do it is because God is doing it to you. It isn’t something you have to search out.
Richard Rohr explains that the New Age psychic Helen Palmer got involved with Enneagram because being a psychic intuitive, she believes she can train people to be psychic intuitives as well. Let’s hear from Richard Rohr:
Richard Rohr: But don’t get lost in the external traits. They’re just partial giveaways, and when you get good at it, you read energies. I mean, really! And this is the reason that Helen Palmer got into it, she told me herself. I mean, she was a psychic intuitive, and she’s convinced that you can train people to be psychic. Well, that’s what this was about initially. We didn’t use that kind of word in the early centuries…
Don: So the Enneagram is really about learning how to be a psychic intuitive to get in touch with God through means other than prayer, Scripture, spiritual growth. It is, I would suggest to you, another gospel and another faith, another religion, which is the religion of you, and that reflects the titles: The Road Back to You, The Pathway Between Us. God is a side character in this story of the Enneagram. The Bible becomes about us, where we are the central figures and God is a character actor. In reality, the Bible is a story about God as the central character dealing with the rest of us who are actors in His story.
So let’s look at the doctrine. This is where the rubber begins meeting the road. It isn’t just a little fun personality profile. That’s why we had to look at the origins and the history, because when we talk to someone who is involved with this, they want to make a defense that it’s ancient. “It goes really long way back, it’s part of the Christian tradition.” They say that because they have been deceived, and they’ve been deceived by deceivers.
So the main doctrines that we want to concern ourselves with are the nature of God. What does this…Enneagram teachers, what do the teachers say, about the nature of God? What does it say about the nature of man and sin? What does it say about the nature of the resurrection? What does it say about the nature of salvation, and the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture? We need to start right at the beginning of this with Richard Rohr’s views which he conveys to others, because that also gives us definitions of the terminology he uses.
God, and we want to look at pantheism…okay. God—pantheism, not monotheism. So their view is pantheism, it is not monotheism.
Monotheism, for our purposes, is the idea that there’s one true God who is separate from creation but interacts with creation. It is what we’d call oneism vs. twoism. Twoism is monotheism: God separate from creation. He created all things, and He interacts with His creation. In oneism, everything is part of God, or is in God in some sense.
Panentheism is the view that Richard Rohr holds, and he holds it proudly, and he talks about it in most of his writings. Panentheism holds that God is bigger than the creation, but the creation is God’s body. Panentheism is found in the New Age and in mysticism. The creation, according to Richard Rohr and Enneagram advocates, is the first incarnation of the Christ.
Perennialism enters into this picture as well. Most of the Enneagram teachers go to this also, that all religions have the fundamental truth about God at their core. So they would say fundamentally, all religions agree on who God is. It is how we act that out later on that’s the problem. So if you thought of it as a wheel, at the hub of the wheel they would say everything—all religions agree. The spokes go out to the outer rim where they appear to be different.
Truthfully, they have it backwards, because it only appears that they all agree. In reality, they all disagree on everything about the nature of God, the nature of man, the nature of salvation. There is utterly no agreement between Christianity’s twoism or monotheism, and all of the other worldviews.
Richard Rohr writes, “God spoke the Eternal Blueprint/Idea called Christ, ‘and so it was!’ (Genesis:1:9). Two thousand years ago marks the Incarnation of God in Jesus, but before that there was the incarnation through light, water, land, sun, moon, stars, plants, trees, fruit, birds, serpents, cattle, and fish, and ‘every kind of wild beast’ according to the Genesis creation story (Genesis:1:3-25). This is the ‘Cosmic Christ’ through which God has ‘let us know the mystery of God’s purpose, the hidden plan made from the beginning in Christ’ (Ephesians:1:9-10).”
The human Jesus, according to Rohr, united with the Christ, who is a separate being, and the gospel writers, he claims, knew it. So here’s where we’re at: we have the Christ, which is all of the cosmos, every material thing that there is is the Christ. He is indwelling all of it, and that includes us. We are part of the Christ right from conception on. We are never separated from Christ, and they will start talking about the true self in the Enneagram. The true self is who you are with God already: perfect, non-sinful, never having been separated from God in any sense.
So here’s how he describes this, because he’s pretty upfront about it:
Richard Rohr: In general, the three synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke are about Jesus. John is about Christ. And the reason we have so misused and misinterpreted John’s gospel is this is the eternal archetype of Christ talking. He can say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” but he’s not talking about Jesus. He’s talking about this mystery, this amalgam of matter and spirit, which is the way for everybody, that you discover spirit in this material universe. That was true for the native religions, was true for Judaism, was certainly apparent in Hinduism if you’ve ever been to India, where gods are everywhere. The sacred is everywhere. They’re always anointing everything, especially the male and female genitals, even in the temples. It’s all sacred. Sort of shocking for us prudish Christians! “This is sacred too?” you know. It’s all one sacred universe. Well, we’ve got a lot of unlearning to do, and that’s why we teach contemplation, because contemplation is mostly unlearning.
Don: “Contemplation is mostly unlearning.” Now, hear that, hear that, because many churches, many seminaries, many Bible colleges, even, have departments devoted to spiritual formation that is based on contemplative prayer. But what is contemplative prayer? He just told us: contemplative prayer is unlearning. What are you unlearning? You are unlearning what the Bible teaches about who God is and about who you are, and you’re looking for a direct connection, where God will speak directly to you in the silence. You are to go into silence, to clear your mind of all things so that God can communicate to you, since He is apparently unable to do so through Scripture.
The Enneagram is a close cousin to that, because they’re coming from the same individual, Richard Rohr. He undermines sin and redefines it, saying that the only real sin is thinking that we are separate from God. Man, he tells us, has divine DNA, so man has always been and will continue to be connected to God forever. The problem, he says, is that we think we’re separated from God. We have created a false self, and the goal of the Enneagram is to help us find our personal path back to the realization that we are already “Christed.” We are already with God, we are already in Christ. We don’t have to repent. In fact, sin is not a separation from God in the sense that we think of it biblically.
He writes this on man and sin: “We are not punished for our sins, we are punished by our sins.” And he goes on further—actually, Suzanne Stabile and Ian Cron in their book echo their theological agreement with him, and they quote him when he says, “Richard Rohr writes [this is them quoting him], ‘Sins are fixations that prevent the energy of life, God’s love, from flowing freely. [They are] self-erected blockades that cut us off from God and hence from our own authentic potential.’”
So sins are self-erected. They are not violations against God, they are something that we have put up to block ourselves from the realization that we are already with God. And so what we need to do is to take down those blockades, and then we will see the glory that we already are Christed, we already are with God. We have never been separated from God.
On the issue of salvation, he writes this: “Salvation became a one-time transactional affair between Jesus and his Father…” When did that happen? Well, that was the early theologians that invented that falsehood, according to him. “…instead of an ongoing transformation lesson for the human soul for all of history. I believe that Jesus’ death on the cross is a revelation of the infinite and participatory love of God, not some bloody payment required by God’s offended justice to rectify the problem of sin. That storyline is way too small and problem-oriented.”
If you think that you have offended God and He requires penal substitution to forgive you, that’s just wrong! That’s just too small! What you need to do is understand, according to Richard Rohr, that the death on the cross was to show you that He is identifying with you as humans, and that you are already with Him. It’s not a transactional event where your sin is atoned for by the death of the Son and the resurrection, but rather to demonstrate that He’s in your corner. God is for you. You’re not separated from Him, you are totally holy already.
What is driving this growth? Why are so many Christians seemingly unconcerned about its occultic origins? How is it that they are missing heretical teaching in key areas? I would suggest there are two reasons for this: first, many Christians do not really believe the Bible is sufficient for faith and practice. We see it in many of these small groups that go on in a number of kinds of churches where they rarely get their Bible out and go through Romans chapter 1 to the end, or the Gospel of John chapter 1 to the end. They don’t go through texts verse by verse and have someone teaching on it, walking them through it, helping them grasp the context of what is going on. And it is such a treasure-trove of who we are, what God did, how He interacts with us, what He expects of us, and how He expects us to behave toward one another. Everything we really need to know is in Scripture! That’s why we believe it’s sufficient for faith and practice.
Most Christians unfortunately don’t understand that. Too many do not realize that the Scriptures tell us that it is the Holy Spirit that is maturing us. He’s doing the work. “He that has begun a good work in you will continue it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
It is the Scriptures which instruct us in how to understand ourselves and to relate to those around us. It tells us in Philippians:1:6, “I am sure of this…” This is the apostle writing: “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Again, you can do it easy or you can do it hard. But rest assured, you’re going to do it if you’re a believer.
They are deceived because of a dictionary problem. Many think of the Enneagram as a psychology-based personality profile, and that someone studying what Scripture refers to as “the old man” prior to regeneration through psychology is a more updated way to understand ourselves. Even as I present this talk, as I record this talk, Suzanne Stabile’s book The Road Back to You is listed as number four under the psychology of personalities category, and number eleven in personal growth and Christianity. That says a lot about the state of the church.
First, this isn’t a biblical view. It isn’t a biblical view. There is nothing at all in the Enneagram that goes to Scripture. Nothing, except deception and being deceived.
Second, not only is the Enneagram not a biblical tool, it isn’t a valid psychological tool if you want to go for the psychological claim. In his paper “The Enneagram, Science, and Christianity—Part One,” researcher Jay Medenwaldt points out that it is “not a scientifically validated tool, nor is it used by therapists, although there are some rare exceptions. It isn’t in any textbooks on personality counseling or the psychology of religion.” It isn’t a psychological tool. It has not been psychologically validated anywhere.
After performing what is so far the only psychometric test, which is actually a valid scientific test to see if the claims that are being made are scientifically provable, he concludes this in Enneagram to the Rescue!—this is his…what he writes in “The Enneagram, Science, and Christianity—Part One”: “Any scientist who studies personality would simply look at the reliability scores and conclude the test is not accurate enough to be helpful, and therefore, they wouldn’t use it because the potential for harm will be too high.”
That is a profound statement from someone who performed the psychometric test to find out if this something that can be useful or at least neutral in its use, and he says, “No, it’s actually dangerous.”
I had a discussion with a psychologist out on the East Coast who was using the Enneagram for his patients and he really liked it. So I contacted him because he had written a review in The Christian Post. So I contacted him and I asked him would he read our book and review it. He read our book, and at the end of it, he contacted me and he said, “You know what, I did not know any of this.” He’s a graduate of Gordon-Conwell University. He says, “You have persuaded me that this is a dangerous tool, and I’m not going to use it anymore.” That was good.
The Enneagram, we are told, is the face of God, according to Rohr, Suzanne Stabile, and others. They write, “Jesus represents all numbers. It has been said in Christian Enneagram tradition that the Enneagram is the face of God. If you read the gospels and you’re Enneagram literate, you’ll find that Jesus has stories specifically addressing each of the nine ways of seeing the world.” That is in The Road Back to You, Stabile and Cron.
So if you are Enneagram-deceived, you can try to find and put the Enneagram into Scripture. You’re not going to find Enneagram if you just read the Scripture on its own.
Because those who are embracing this new religion are not paying attention to the dictionary the writers and teachers are using, they deceive themselves into thinking Stabile, Rohr, and the rest mean Jesus has all nine personality types. They don’t, and they define what they do mean. Here’s what they say: that types are not a type of person, but paths to God. Let’s read it for ourself:
“One of my teachers, Russ Hudson, says, ‘Type isn’t a “type” of person, but a path to God.’ I believe it’s sacred because as a map of our soul it’s a compassionate sketch of possibilities. The Enneagram is less about nine ‘types of people’ and more about nine paths back to our [get this] true selves and nine paths to divine love.”
These are nine paths—one of them is for you to get back to your true self that has never sinned, never been separated from God, to get away from this false self that you’ve erected and created that blocks you from really having communication with God. You can get rid of that if you go through the work of the Enneagram.
This is about figuring out which of the nine paths to the realization you’re not a sinner from God, and not about understanding or fixing yourself. That is not—it’s not about understanding or fixing yourself. In fact, Richard Rohr says this: “The purpose of the Enneagram is not self-improvement, which would be our ego’s goal. Rather, it is the transformation of consciousness so that we can realize our essence, our True Self.”
We are transforming our consciousness so that we can realize that we are not sinners separated from God. Since we are all part of creation and creation is the first incarnation of the Christ, we are all already Christed. We have never been separated from God by our sin, but our true selves—who we really are in the core doctrine of the Enneagram—has always been with God. We have created a fictional false self. The goal of the Enneagram is to figure out which of the nine paths is our personal path back to the realization that we are God.
You remember the passage where Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one come’s the Father but by me”? Eh, not so much. The Enneagram gives you the true nine different paths you can choose from.
Is it salvageable? In the last minute or two we want to answer this question, because one of the appeals that comes to us very frequently is, “God can redeem anything.” Is that true?
Very often, because I like to be a little bit hyperbolic, someone will say to me, “God can redeem anything.”
I say, “Okay, let’s test that out. Can God redeem prostitution?” And they will look at me in horror and go, “Well, no, but He can redeem a prostitute.”
I go, “Exactly. God redeems people. He doesn’t redeem evil actions or occult practices.”
They’ll say, “All truth is God’s truth.” That’s absolutely true. All truth is God’s truth. A prerequisite to that is it has to be true! The Enneagram isn’t true, it is deception at the highest degree.
Christianity can be transposed into the Enneagram. My first question is why would you want to do that? The second question is, if we can transpose an occult belief that [has] occult origins used by New Agers and psychics, why can’t we use astrology? It’s an occult practice. It actually has a better track record of describing your personality than the Enneagram does. And our coauthor Marcia Montenegro was a former professional astrologer, and she can attest to how many of her clients were shocked by how much she understood of their personality based on their astrological charts! It is remarkably finetuned, but it is occultic, an occultic practice, which she has shunned and suggests everyone to. We would be shocked if anyone tried to bring astrology into the church as a way to grow spiritually, and yet this is no different. Christianity cannot be transposed onto the Enneagram.
Culture is in trouble because it has departed from the Judeo-Christian worldview. The church transformed civilization from a mean pagan culture over a 300-year period after its birth. Culture has been returning the favor, returning us back to a pagan culture away from the Christian worldview.
The church in the latter days really has a choice, and the choice is to go back and see what it was the apostles and the early church did, recognizing that there was heresy even in the 1st century. What did they do? They proclaimed the gospel to those outside the church. Who did that? All of the believers were trained inside the church.
It’s interesting when we read 1 Corinthians:14:23-24, we observe the apostle assumes unbelievers are not normally in the church. The church meeting isn’t primarily for unbelievers.
He says, “If you’re all speaking in tongues, and if the unbeliever comes in [he assumes the unbeliever is not normally there], they’ll think you’re crazy.”
The very next passage he says, “If you are prophesying and the unbeliever comes in, he will know God is here.” In both cases, he’s assuming the unbelievers are not normally in the congregation. Why? Because the church meeting is to train believers and disciple believers, to pray together, to comfort those who are struggling, to be family as the family of God in a family setting. Unbelievers are welcome, should be made to feel welcome, and nourished and fed in any way we can—visitors to our family. But it is a family time for the church to train, equip, and prepare people to go back out into a mean culture to proclaim the gospel.
The Enneagram is desperately heretical; #blacklivesmatter is an occult religion, influencing the church in some areas and culture in others. Critical race theory is a deceptive replacement of the Christian faith, which offers no salvation and only offers pain and suffering.
Thank you for being part of The Berean Call convention, and contact me if you need further information. Thank you.