This was a workshop presented at the Evangelical Press Association 2023 Convention (EPA2023) on Friday, April 14, 2023.
“The Troubling Trend of False Teaching in the Church”
L.L. (Don) Veinot, Jr. President, MCOI
enneagramsecret.com (There are videos and other resources here)
“The Enneagram: What’s True, What’s False, Does it Matter?” (Streaming conference)
MCOI’s Four Important Lessons
1) Establish the dictionary others are using
2) Use original source material as much as possible
3) Extend the claims out as far as possible, stand them on their head and see if they survive.
4) The Scriptures are the final authority for faith and practice
False Teaching Creeping into the Church
Examining Bill Gothard – A Matter of Basic Principles: Bill Gothard and the Christian Life and Christianity Today review “Exegeting Bill Gothard”
Gwen Shamblin – Rise Above – 2000 Thomas Nelson Publishers
MCOI Article – “Weighed Down with False Doctrine”
Two New Lessons
1) Christian publishers do not have their popular-level books theologically vetted.
2) Pastors have limited time to keep up with the new trends outside of their congregation. They and the sheep in their charge trust Christian publishers and media to be theologically sound in the essentials of the faith.
Troubling Trends in the State of Theology
– 56% of US Evangelicals agree with Statement No. 3 “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.” (the heretical view called perennialism)
– 43% of US Evangelicals agreed with Statement No. 4 “God learns and adapts to different circumstances.” In other words, for nearly half of US Evangelicals, God is not omniscient or all-knowing.
– 53%, over half of US Evangelicals, agree with Statement No. 16, “The Bible, like all sacred writings, contains helpful accounts of ancient myths but is not literally true.”
– 43% of US Evangelicals agree with Statement No. 7 “Jesus was a great teacher, but he was not God.”
– Statement No. 5 “Biblical accounts of the physical (bodily) resurrection of Jesus are completely accurate. This event actually occurred.” 47% of Evangelicals strongly agree, and another 19% somewhat agree.
This derives from two Greek words, “Dodeka” meaning twelve – and “gramma,” meaning drawn or written. Although the iconic image above and its name may be new to us, the tradition is ancient, going back to master practitioners who advised kings and rulers as far back as the Sixth Century BCE.
This spiritual tool of self-knowledge was endorsed by German Lutheran Theologian Philip Melanchthon, who had been tutored in it by Johannes Stöffler at the University of Tübingen in 1512-1514. The Dodekagram even has handy, easy-to-understand descriptions of positive and negative personality traits, split into twelve categories.
A One is:
Adventurous and energetic
Pioneering and courageous
Enthusiastic and confident
Dynamic and quick-witted
But on the flip side, they are identified as:
Selfish and quick-tempered
Impulsive and impatient
Foolhardy and daredevil
A Two is:
Patient and reliable
Warmhearted and loving
Persistent and determined
Placid and security loving
A Two has agreeable traits, but their downside can be quite negative:
Jealous and possessive
Resentful and inflexible
Self-indulgent and greedy
Just under fifty-one million adults in the US alone believe in and use this tool.
How Did the Enneagram Make its Way from the New Age and Occult into the Church?
G.I. Gurdjieff – Esoteric Mystic:
Gurdjieff’s claim of receiving the Enneagram from Sufi mystics is untrue as Dr. Ronald V. Huggins demonstrates in :
“Playing Pretend with People and Places:Gurdjieff ’s Father Evlissi’s Alleged Connection with the Essenes in Meetings with Remarkable Men (1963)” – Dr. Ronald V. Huggins (PDF Download)
“Enneagram Genesis In Search of Enneagram Origins” Dr. Ronald V. Huggins – YouTube Video
He [Ichazo] reportedly received instructions from a higher entity called, “Metatron, the prince of the archangels.”
“guided by an internal master, the Green Qu ‘Tub
Claudio Naranjo, author of :
My Psychedelic Explorations
The Interview demonstrates the following:
1) Oscar Ichazo never proposed Enneatypes, and Naranjo points out this in this interview. He tied it to “ego fixations”
2) Naranjo also is clear that he and Ichazo received their information from “higher sources, not historical sources”
3) A quick review of his books on psychedelics and spirituality shows a connection to spiritual sources other than God.
The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe
Dr. Douglas Groothuis’s review – “A Heretic’s Christ, a False Salvation: A Review of The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope for, and Believe Richard Rohr” – Dr. Groothuis also spoke on “The Enneagram: What’s True, What’s False, Does it Matter?” streaming event:
Richard Rohr publicly and unashamedly outlines his theology:
- Perennialist (at the core all religions have the truth about God)
- Panentheism (The cosmos is the first incarnation of The Christ)
- A distinction between the “historical Jesus” and “the Christ.”
- Our True Self has never been separated from God (God is in and through all matter)
- We created a false self that falsely believes we are sinners separated from God
- Denies penal substitution (Jesus didn’t die for our sins but for God to show His unity with man)
2011 The Spiritual Creep Begins
THE ENNEAGRAM GPS: GNOSTIC PATH TO SELF By Marcia Montenegro, Written March 2011 –
The Road Back to You, Suzanne Stabile & Ian Cron, IVP 2016
Richard Rohr, OFM (Perennialist. Panentheist, etc)
Claudio Naranjo (Psychiatrist, New Age occultist)
Don Riso (New Age)
Russ Hudson (New Age)
Helen Palmer (New Age psychic)
Beatrice Chestnut (New Age)
Kathleen Hurley (New Age)
Theodore Donson (New Age)
Sandra Maitri (New Age)
Lynette Shepherd (New Age)
Clarence Thompson (New Age)
Roxanne Howe-Murphy (New Age)
Currently, over 160 pro-Enneagram titles by Christian publishers
These materials are the go-to resource for:
Nine-week sermon series
Enneagram for Gospel
“The Enneagram for Pastors” – (Christianity Today)
Is the Enneagram a valid personality tool?
The Enneagram, Science, and Christianity – Part 1 (Jay Medenwaldt)
The Enneagram, Science, and Christianity – Part 2 (Jay Medenwaldt)
Four Questions for Evangelical Journalists
1) What is the role of journalism?
2) What qualifies as journalistic integrity?
3) Should Evangelical journalists understand the essential doctrines of the faith?
4) If the answer to three is yes, in stories, book reviews, and publication product promotions, should they alert their readers to heresies invading the church? In other words, is there an obligation to assist churches or leave them to fend for themselves?
Tom Gilson, Senior Editor of The Stream, responded:
Good morning, Don,
That’s a tall order! Easy answers are too-obvious answers. I’ll give it a shot, though. This is not going to be based on what journalism is but what it should be.
- The role of journalism is to discover and to communicate truth on current events
and topics that are important to a community of readers/viewers. What counts as “important”? Answering that may also be the journalist’s job because there are truths to discover, too, about questions like, “Is this important?”
- Journalistic integrity is simply journalistic truth. It’s honest investigation and honest reporting. Truth in journalism includes balance, of course. So, for example, many news outlets are reporting that Donald Trump is the first former president ever to be indicted for a crime. Fewer are reporting that Alvin Bragg is the first attorney general ever to use the power of his office to disrupt a legitimate political campaign. Both statements are true, both could be developed with further facts and commentary, but one of them is being passed over.
Journalists who report the truth about Trump’s being indicted, without also reporting the truth about Bragg’s arguable interference in a federal election, are telling enough truth for it to come out essentially as a lie.
- Every journalist should be competent. They should know what they’re talking
about, they should be aware of potential biases affecting how they report, and if there are issues on which they’re willing to take a truth stand, saying, “This isn’t bias, this is truth,” they should be able to articulate and defend that position.
That’s true for every journalist. For evangelicals, that means they should understand the essential doctrines of the faith. If they are not taking a truth stand, they’re not so evangelical after all, are they?
That much is true no matter what their reporting “beat” may be, but if they are writing for an evangelical publication, representing evangelicalism itself in any way, then the stakes rise even higher. They’d better know the biblical teaching they represent, or they might find themselves in the position of being false teachers. Nothing else gets as much NT condemnation as false teaching or false teachers. I wouldn’t want to be in that position, that’s for sure.
- This one’s really interesting to me, because I know of honest, genuine Christians
who say we shouldn’t name names, shouldn’t criticize that way, etc. So, I’m trying to think of how I’d comply with that.
Maybe there’s a way to write an honest review on a heretical book without bringing out the facts of its heresy, and maybe there’s a way to do that without participating in false teaching. Maybe a reporter could do that if he really wanted to. But why? As a writer, I’m thinking that would be really, really hard work. Lots of creativity required. Lots of spinning and dodging and avoiding. And even then, no. Just no. I’m a pretty creative writer, but I can’t think of any way to accomplish that with any integrity. I can’t imagine any real service it would do for the journalist’s audience.
There are better and worse ways to criticize error. (One of the worst ways is by failing to do it.) We have to know what we’re talking about, obviously, and that includes a clear-eyed picture of whatever it is we’re critiquing, so we can represent it accurately.
We must do it with Chestertonian humility: toward self, not toward truth (https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/905328-what-we-suffer-from-today-is-humility- in-the-wrong). There may be anger or disgust in our critique, and it may indeed rightly belong there, but let it be tempered with grief and with love.
Those are some of the first things that come to mind in answer to your questions, Don.
You may quote me by name if you decide any of it helps in your presentation.
Additional Suggested Resources:
Richard Rohr and the Enneagram Secret by Don Veinot, Joy Veinot and Marcia Montenegro
Enneagram Theology: Is It Christian? by Dr. Rhenn Cherry
This is a point/counterpoint debate between Dr. Todd Wilson & Marcia Montenegro on Justin Brierley’s Show, Premier Unbelievable?