What do Ian Cron, Suzanne Stabile (co-authors of The Road Back to You), and Christopher Heuertz have in common – aside from being authors of the Enneagram books most used in the evangelical churches?
All have claimed the Enneagram is “ancient” — you can see the term “Ancient Tool” in the Table of Contents of Heuertz’ book.
All have claimed the Enneagram has Christian origins or roots.
All have studied under Richard Rohr. Rohr is a panentheist, a perennialist, and a purveyor of a false spirituality which teaches a false Christ who was first incarnated as creation (see articles to the right of this page). He also makes a distinction between the historical Jesus and the “universal Christ,” who, he asserts, is more than Jesus ever was.
Most of the teaching in the evangelical church is based on the books and workbooks by these authors, written as a result of the popularity of Rohr’s book on the Enneagram, The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective.
Therefore, we should know whether we can trust their information and theology. After all, the Enneagram is being promoted not just as a personality assessment (and it is not one anyway — read on) but as a spiritual tool to help you know yourself, know God, and get along with others. The statements below have been said by some Enneagram teachers and now are being repeated. I have heard pastors make statements online while advocating the Enneagram, such as:
“To know God, you have to know yourself.”
“To be a Christian means to know yourself.”
“To love others, you need to know the Enneagram.”
“To love God, you need to know yourself.”
There is no biblical support for the above statements, yet they are repeated as though they are true. To love God requires first trust in Jesus Christ and his work on the cross and bodily resurrection. At that point, one is indwelt by the Holy Spirt and made a new creature (Two Corinthians 5:17). Through reading and learning God’s word, prayer, fellowship, worship, and serving God, one is transformed into the image of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is how God tells Christians to know and love him, not by knowing ourselves.
The Bible also gives many instructions in the epistles to the churches about how Christians are to behave towards one another. Since the Bible has these instructions on living the Christian life, it is enough. No additional technique, especially one that is thoroughly pagan and was never designed as a personality assessment tool, is needed.
What about the 3 authors of the first and very popular Enneagram books and workbooks used by many Christians and in churches?
Suzanne Stabile is co-author with Ian Cron of the most popular Enneagram book used by evangelicals, The Road Back to You, and authored another Enneagram book, The Path Between Us. Stabile, raised Methodist but now Roman Catholic, states:
“When people begin to commit themselves to a deeper spiritual journey, the first two things that happen are they run into the fact that they don’t like themselves. And the Enneagram helps you get over that. And the second thing is struggles with family of origin and with other people. And the Enneagram helps you get over that.” — From article by Eric Nevins
Stabile is a “spiritual director,” and involved in contemplative spirituality. That viewpoint holds that one goes “deeper” in relationship with God through various practices based more on Eastern spirituality than on biblical principles. For example, what is known as contemplative prayer is considered to be of more value than normative prayer. In contrast, Christians grow in Christ via God’s word, serving God, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
“The Enneagram is essentially nine ways of seeing. It is an ancient spiritual wisdom that teaches us that there are nine different ways of seeing and nine ways of experiencing the world. Additionally, there are nine ways of answering some of life’s basic questions like: “Who am I?” and “Why do I do the things I do?”
The Enneagram has an unknown origin but has been used in all faith beliefs in one way or another for at least several hundred years and at most several thousand. The Enneagram is unique in what it offers us as we make our way from who we are to who we hope to be.
I read a book by Richard Rohr and my husband, a former Roman Catholic priest, and I started seeing Father Rohr on a regular basis and learning from his wisdom.” – Interview of Stabile with Lemuria Books
Stabile refers in the above excerpt to the Enneagram as “ancient” several times, and to “Enneagram wisdom.” Note that she says, “ancient spiritual wisdom;” it has been used for “at least several hundred years.” It is more accurate to say it is “recent New Age/Gnostic spirituality.” The only “faith system” I am aware of that has used it until very recently are esoteric groups and the New Age. She makes the false assertion that the Enneagram has an unknown origin; the origin is known and there is plenty of evidence for that.
Stabile also claims
“The Enneagram has been an oral tradition for centuries.”
The Enneagram as a personality test, and solely in a New Age way, has been around only since the late 1960s. The Enneagram came from New Age/esoteric teachers like Oscar Ichazo, Claudio Naranjo, Don Riso, and Helen Palmer. Jesuit Bob Ochs, who introduced it into the Roman Catholic church. Naranjo was at Esalen, a breeding ground for humanistic and New Age teachings and ground zero for the human potential movement. Esalen had a deep impact on the counterculture and helped to pave the way for the mainstreaming of the New Age.
In Cron and Stabile’s book, Ichazo is called “a Chilean” and Naranjo an “American-trained Psychiatrist” (source, Dr. Ronald V. Huggins, Th. D). This description is an example how the books targeting evangelicals have mischaracterized and whitewashed Ichazo and Naranjo, the two men most responsible for today’s Enneagram practice.
Ichazo taught in an occult school he founded in Arica, Chile. Ichazo had contact with what he claimed to be an archangel he called Metatron as well as other spirits. The gnostic Kabbalah refers to Metatron as a spiritual being, and Metatron goes back to the esoteric books of Enoch as an angel close to God who later is revealed as Enoch.
A person’s essence is “perfect, fearless, and in unity with the entire cosmos” but the ego, which develops after birth, is a “false” self (from The Arica Training). This philosophy expressed by Ichazo was similar to Gurdjieff’s, the one who taught the ideas that took shape later as the Enneagram.
Claudio Naranjo is credited with laying out the 9 Enneagram types. He admits in a video that some of that information came from his “observations” but that “most of it” came via automatic writing.* Naranjo also admits in a 2010 video interview on a New Age channel that he and Ichazo made up the idea that the Enneagram was ancient.
Naranjo, like Ichazo, believes in the use of psychedelics for “spiritual” insights. In fact, the use of hallucigens and its effects on the brain was Naranjo’s main focus of his work.
Dr. Ronald V. Huggins has stated this regarding Esalen. It was “…a place where people were likely to get naked, take LSD, and beat on native drums.”
Ichazo, who taught the Enneagram based on Gurdjieff’s ideas, was featured on the cover of the June 1976 New Age Magazine with the byline “This Man Guarantees Enlightenment.”- (Source: Dr. Ronald V. Huggins).
Ian Cron is co-author with Suzanne Stabile of The Road Back to You. Cron, a psychiatrist, advocates Mindfulness and has spoken at Richard Rohr’s conferences, at Rohr’s Center of Action and Contemplation, and with Richard Rohr.
Rohr has an heretical view of Christ. On his Facebook page Cron extolls Rohr for his “wisdom” on the Enneagram.
Cron is a mystic who advocates visiting “sacred places.“ The concept of a place having a special sacredness is not biblical. God made his presence known to Moses in the burning bush, on Mt. Sinai, to Israel, in the Tabernacle, and Temple, and on the wilderness journey. These actions were specified by God. Notably, this was before the Holy Spirit was sent to indwell all those who trust in Christ.
Cron states that he is a “progressive” and that the Christian world is ripe for the Enneagram because it has become “more porous and open to wisdom from outside sources.” Later in the interview, he refers to “perennial wisdom.”
Both of these statements indicate that Cron likely follows in Richard Rohr’s footsteps as an adherent of “Perennial wisdom” or “the Perennial tradition.” The Perennial tradition does not teach that all religions are the same. Rather, it is the belief that although religions are extrinsically diverse, at their innermost core they share a single reality that unites them as one truth because they stem from the same source.
Cron also refers to the Enneagram as coming “outside” of the Christian tradition and thus acknowledges it is derived from non-Christian teachings (which is true). Rather shockingly, Cron also tells Chestnut that “If you told me there was no trinity, it probably wouldn’t change any of my plans for today.”
For a professing Christian to say the Trinity has no import for one’s life is either to dismiss it as inconsequential or as possibly untrue. This is quite a reckless statement, to put it mildly.
Admitting that he is not sure where the Enneagram is from, Cron asserts that it could be from “a cave somewhere in Syria, I found with Harrison Ford. Nobody knows really, but it doesn’t matter. If it’s true and useful it doesn’t matter.”
The source of the Enneagram does matter because many Christian Enneagram resources – in fact all of them that I know of, including the teachers and the books, claim that the Enneagram is ancient and at least partly from Christian sources. However, the Enneagram came into the church out of the New Age via Progressive Christianity and Richard Rohr, barely a few decades after its 20th century esoteric beginnings.
The Enneagram is not “true” because it has no validity from any credible religious or psychological origins. So the false tales of the Enneagram continue with Cron.
In a promotion for Heuertz’ book, The Sacred Enneagram, we read this:
“…he has trained under some of the great living Enneagram masters including Father Richard Rohr, Russ Hudson, Marion Gilbert, and Helen Palmer.”
Hudson, Gilbert, and Palmer are New Agers. As stated previously Rohr is heretical. Hudson is co-founder with Don Riso of the New Age Enneagram Institute.
Why is anyone trusting what these authors write when the evidence is that they are spiritually undiscerning?
“Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.” Romans 16:17
“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthains 6:14
In an interview on the Bible Gateway site, Heuertz states:
“The Enneagram is a character-structure system that illustrates the nine ways we lie to ourselves about who we think we are, nine ways we learn to come clean about the illusions we live in, and nine ways we find our way back to God.
It explains the ‘why’ of how we think, act, and feel…. It shows us our defense mechanisms and all the ways we attempt to fortify our illusions about ourselves.
A compassionate sketch of possibilities, the Enneagram is fundamentally less about nine types of people and more about nine ways we return to God and our true selves.”
From a biblical view, there is no “true self.” There is only a fallen and corrupted self which can only be redeemed through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus atones for our sins on the cross. In Christ, one becomes a “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:4; Galatians 2:20, 6:15).
Heuertz’ statements about the “true self” are reminiscent of Ichazo’s teachings of man’s perfect essence. The purpose of the Ennneagram is to uncover the “true self” in New Age terms.
These three authors of these major Christian books on the Enneagram:
- Refer to the Enneagram as ancient (when it’s not)
- See it as wisdom (which is based on esoteric and occult belief systems)
- Have strong ties to Richard Rohr, a priest with an heretical teaching of Jesus Christ; the former denies that man needs salvation since all are in Christ already; this is based on panentheism
- *Automatic writing is a form of spirit contact done by allowing a spirit to guide the hand in writing out messages. These spirits are fallen angels.