Sunday, July 25, 2010
The Authority of Scripture, the Enneagram, and faithfulness
Is the tent too big or is it too deep? But this isn’t about people; instead it’s about the Christian faith. How do we know who Jesus is? How are we sure of our salvation and the righteousness Christ has given to us? How do we know that the work of Christ is sufficient? Where is our authority?
Our new Vice-Moderator, Rev. Landon Whitsitt, referring to Phyllis Tickle and her book, The Great Emergence, states “Sola Scriptoria is dead most places and dying rapidly in others.” So the emerging and progressive side of the church will now, it seems, look in all directions for authority.
The sign of this is the various kinds of technique that leaders within the church offer as a means of meeting what seems to be lacking in the salvation Jesus provides. If proclamation is not grounded in the word of God, hell will provide its own version of authority.
For instance in an upcoming conference on church transformation posted on the PCUSA web site, 2010 Transformation Conference brochure, it seems the Enneagram might override the authority of Scripture The lady chosen to deal with spirituality, Suzanne Stabile, is the expert on the Enneagram. A video introduction can be heard here: Enneagram Intro or quickerIntro.
In the introduction she states that Paul, in his 7th chapter of Romans would have had an answer to why he could not do what he wished to do if he had known about the Enneagram. She also tells her new students that their introduction to the Enneagram will be equivalent to having children or “Jesus coming into your life.” She also speaks of the emerging church and states that we need “an added value that stands aside from all our differences.” For Stabile this is the Enneagram.
The Enneagram, in reality, has its roots in the occult and was first introduced by George Gurdjieff an occultist and founder of Esoteric Christianity. (Although many including Stabile consider it to be ancient there is no prove that it is.) The Ennagram filtered into the Catholic Church through the teaching of Chilean Oscar Ichazo, another occultist who developed, alongside others, a numbering system which supposedly applies to personalities. Father Robert Ochs trained with Ichazo as did others in the Catholic faith.
I use this as an example, although I think this particular teaching in the church should be addressed. What can the orthodox in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) do as they watch their faith be torn apart, the Holy Scriptures devalued and the morality of the Church dismissed as unimportant?
Only what Christians everywhere and in all times have done. Remain faithful to the Lord of the Church and the word of God. Keep proclaiming, teaching, praying and worshiping according to the apostolic witness of God’s word. That is, keep proclaiming that Jesus Christ died for our sins. Keep telling the good news that in our union with the resurrected Jesus we are adorned with his righteousness. His work is sufficient.
Keep insisting that the word of God written is the Bible. Sola Scriptoria: our authority.
In some cases faithfulness means participating in renewal work. But above all it means walking straight ahead on the path that Jesus Christ has chosen for each of us individually and together as his Church. Some will leave this denomination. That is the judgment God gives as he begins the work of blowing out the candles of the western mainline churches. (We can still repent and be renewed but that is God’s other business) Some, including me, will remain because God has called us to be faithful in this place.
Paul’s advice to Timothy comes as truth for now and a bit of a pun for our moment.
“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn to myths” (2 Timothy 4: 1-4). (my italics.)
 See my posting Sweeping Church History: A review of The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why
 An excellent article about the Enneagram is Tell me who I am O Enneagram by Mitchell Pacwa S.J.