What is Spiritual Syncretism? And Should Christians Participate?

What Leviticus 20:5 refers to as, “Spiritual prostitution,” the American Heritage Dictionary describes as “the reconciliation or fusion of differing systems of belief.” Spiritual or Religious Syncretism most prominently occurs in domains of philosophy and religion, and typically results in a new/different teaching or belief system. Per GotQuestions, “this cannot be reconciled to biblical Christianity.” GotQuestions continues:

“Religious syncretism is simply not compatible with true Christianity. In fact, any modification to biblical law and principle for the sake of a ‘better’ religion is heresy (Revelation 22:18-19).”

The Enneagram is an excellent example of how synchronization can occur. Please bear with me as I explain…

To summarize briefly, the Enneagram is currently viewed as an ancient, Christian tool used for personality analysis. But is it truly ancient? And most importantly, is it Christian?

The Enneagram, specifically, was initially created by a Russian mystic named, George Gurdjieff, around 1906. Gurdjieff’s nine-pointed shape was constructed with his Law of Three in mind as a way to glean spiritual wisdom from the Cosmos (divination). Approximately 60 years later, Chilean psychiatrist, Claudio Naranjo, claimed in this interview to have contacted Spirit Guides in attempts to formulate personality types which could apply to the 9-points. In light of these factors, we can debunk both claims that the Enneagram is either ancient or Christian.

2 minutes

Regarding its ancient roots, the Enneagram is nearly 40-60 years old in its current (personality) form. However, the component which is legitimately ancient is practice of seeking the help of disobedient spirits. Divination and soothsaying certainly IS ancient. And, sisters, God warns us about these practices in all of the Scriptures. Example passages include Leviticus 19-20, Deuteronomy 18, Acts 19, and Galatians 3:1. The fact that something could be ancient doesn’t automatically mean it’s safe! By no means!

A New Age tool by design, the Enneagram is taught by numerous churches as an ancient tool which can be redeemed for use with hiring, disciplining, marriage health, etc. The problem with this is that the Enneagram isn’t Christian. And even though we are living after the Cross, idols are not redeemed. Only idolators. As Marcia Montenegro articulates, “The Enneagram is not like meat sacrificed to idols. The Enneagram IS the idol.”

“The Enneagram is not like meat sacrificed to idols. The Enneagram IS the idol.”

Marcia Montenegro

Not only is the Enneagram not Christian, but the theology which most often accompanies the Enneagram, is propagated by a plethora of Enneagram books praising the virtues and insights of Friar Richard Rohr. Rohr, while claiming the title of a Christian, equally identifies as Perennial (nearly identical with Universalism). And while Rohr utilizes Christian terminology, he demeans the Book (Bible) which defines them, as well as denies the essential, foundational beliefs (doctrines) of Christianity. Rohr is a textbook example of syncretism…and that should raise majo red flags!🚩

Here are some examples of Rohr’s views :

  • Jesus is an exalted creation, not God.
  • The Christ is a separate being who entered Jesus.
  • Christ is in all things (Panentheism).
  • All things are made in the image of God.
  • Christ’s first incarnation was the “Big Bang.”
  • Sin is our ignorance to never having been separated from God (we’ve always been Divine/“True Self”).
  • Sin does not need atonement, and therefore Jesus’s crucifixion was needless.
  • Defines God as a He, She, or It…as a “dynamic motion” or “flow” in all things.
  • Encourages Spiritual and/or Religious Syncretism.

Friends, if anyone encourages you to integrate other worldviews into Christianity, please prayerfully and gently ask questions regarding his or her Christian beliefs. God’s Word (Scriptures) calls the synchronization of idols as “spiritual prostitution” (Leviticus 20:5). We need to take this statement seriously! The Jewish exorcists documented by Luke in Acts 19 took the sin of synchronization VERY seriously! Instead of incorporating their old magic into their Christian faith, their burned what the ESV Study Bible estimates as $6 million dollars worth of magic materials! They didn’t slap Christian terms upon their old practices (“Gospel-Centered Magic”), they abandoned them and followed Jesus!

Gals, let’s intentionally invest time to dialoguing respectfully with our friends and/or family members, pertaining to the Gospel as presented by God through His Word (Bible). And please know that it’s ok not to have all of the answers. That’s where study, research, prayer, and community comes in! Keep pouring into your friend what your being taught in the Scriptures as well as through apologetics. Resources are shared below for your convenience! Praying alongside you!

Essentials of Christianity

47 minutes with Greg Koukl
47 minutes with Kevin Lewis
60 minutes with Alisa Childers and Krista Bontrager

Enneagram and Richard Rohr

56 minutes with Alisa Childers and Marcia Montenegro
56 minutes with Cultish and Marcia
10 minutes

Leviticus 20

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Say to the people of Israel, Any one of the people of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones. 3 I myself will set my face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given one of his children to Molech, to make my sanctuary unclean and to profane my holy name. 4 And if the people of the land do at all close their eyes to that man when he gives one of his children to Molech, and do not put him to death, 5 then I will set my face against that man and against his clan and will cut them off from among their people, him and all who follow him in whoring (“spiritual prostitution” NET) after Molech.

“If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people. Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep my statutes and do them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you. For anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood is upon him.

Punishments for Sexual Immorality

10 “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. 11 If a man lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. 12 If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed perversion; their blood is upon them. 13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. 14 If a man takes a woman and her mother also, it is depravity; he and they shall be burned with fire, that there may be no depravity among you. 15 If a man lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal. 16 If a woman approaches any animal and lies with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

17 “If a man takes his sister, a daughter of his father or a daughter of his mother, and sees her nakedness, and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace, and they shall be cut off in the sight of the children of their people. He has uncovered his sister’s nakedness, and he shall bear his iniquity. 18 If a man lies with a woman during her menstrual period and uncovers her nakedness, he has made naked her fountain, and she has uncovered the fountain of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from among their people. 19 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister or of your father’s sister, for that is to make naked one’s relative; they shall bear their iniquity.20 If a man lies with his uncle’s wife, he has uncovered his uncle’s nakedness; they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless. 21 If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is impurity. He has uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.

You Shall Be Holy

22 “You shall therefore keep all my statutes and all my rules and do them, that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. 23 And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them. 24 But I have said to you, ‘You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the Lord your God, who has separated you from the peoples. 25 You shall therefore separate the clean beast from the unclean, and the unclean bird from the clean. You shall not make yourselves detestable by beast or by bird or by anything with which the ground crawls, which I have set apart for you to hold unclean. 26 You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.

27 “A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.”