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Popular Minister Defends Enneagram: 'Counselors and Pastors Use it as a Tool to Help Others'

Michael Foust | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Thursday, January 19, 2023
Popular Minister Defends Enneagram: 'Counselors and Pastors Use it as a Tool to Help Others'

Popular Minister Defends Enneagram: 'Counselors and Pastors Use it as a Tool to Help Others'


A well-known pastor and author is defending Christians' use of the Enneagram personality test, saying it's a tool for counselors and pastors to use in helping others "see where they might be prone to trust in their own strength rather than Christ."

John Starke, the lead pastor of Apostles Uptown in New York City and the author of The Secret Place of Thunder and The Possibility of Prayer, made the comments in a lengthy Twitter thread Wednesday as the faith community continues to debate the Enneagram's usage. Christian author and speaker Jackie Hill Perry recently denounced the Enneagram as "demonic" and apologized for her past promotion of it.

Starke said he agrees with Perry 99 percent of the time and encourages people to support her work but disagrees with her on this issue.

"Yes, some Enneagram users can be goofy with it, and yes, for some time, it was a huge fad. But some counselors and spiritual directors use it wisely, carefully, and fruitfully and have been doing so way before it was popular and will continue to do so after we forget about it," Starke wrote. "The Enneagram is not a mantra that summons demonic forces every time you use it in counseling, post something about online, or put it in your bio. That is not what Christians need to spend their time being afraid of.

"Demons are real, and Satan really is trying to destroy your life and divide the church. But the Enneagram isn't the thing you need to worry about. No one is trying to divine the future with it or get victory over their enemies," he wrote.

"Counselors and pastors use it as a tool to help others see where they might be prone to trust in their own strength rather than Christ; where they might be reaching for worldly adoration rather than the voice of the Father; fleshly power over the power of the Spirit," Starke added.

There are, he said, "literally dozens of Enneagram books published by confessing Christians/Evangelicals within trustworthy publishers."

"Please, please, please read fellow Christians" on the issue, he wrote.

YouTube sources on the issue, he said, are "not very trustworthy."

"While I don't believe some spiritualist created the Enneagram by listening to demons, it is true that the sources are vague. But the practice of thinking about shaping spiritual formation by personal temperaments has been practiced from the desert fathers to the Puritans," Starke wrote. "We don't have to be afraid of wisdom coming from secular sources. Christians have always been empowered by the Spirit to discern how to handle the Egyptian plundered gold."

Starke cited Augustine, who wrote, "A person who is a good and true Christian should realize that truth belongs to the Lord, wherever it is found, fathering and acknowledging it even in pagan literature…."

"Many of the folks recently criticizing the Enneagram and associating it with demonic forces I highly admire," Starke wrote.

Related:

Jackie Hill Perry Denounces the Enneagram, Apologizes for Past Promotion: 'It's Evil'

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Daniela Designs


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.