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Jesus was a Capricorn, but was He an ESFJ? an Enneagram 2?

There are some religious sects that have been turning out ESFJ�s based on research conducted utilizing MBTI personality testing. Critics of such groups and movements charge that leaders of these sects are 1) making members over after their own image, 2) controlling them in such a way that their personalities are changed to conform to the group norm and 3) argue that such personality changes are destructive psychologically and spiritually. Leaders of these groups claim that such research simply proves that Jesus was an ESFJ !

These are the ideas explored in __The Discipling Dilemma__ the Second Edition by Flavil R. Yeakley, Jr., Editor, Howard W. Norton, Don E. Vinzant and Gene Vinzant, which can be read here http://churches-of-christ.org/...e_Discipling_Dilemma /

They write:

�In some religious sects, it is a fact that the observed changes presented a clear pattern of convergence in a single type: ESFJ. There was a strong tendency for introverts to become extraverts, for intuitors to become sensors, for thinkers to become feelers, and for perceivers to become judgers. The observed results indicate a dangerous falsification of type produced by some kind of group pressure.�

They quote:

�Matthew's gospel is clearly written in thinker style. He emphasizes the things Jesus taught. His gospel is a logical argument that Jesus is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. Mark's gospel is written in sensor style. Mark tells little of what Jesus said, but emphasizes what Jesus did. Mark's gospel is a gospel of power. It is short, straight to the point, action-oriented, and results-oriented. That is the way good sensors write. The gospel of Luke shows us the human side of Jesus. We learn from Luke how Jesus felt and what He valued. This emphasis is consistent with feeler style. John's gospel is quite different from the synoptic gospels. It is as though he steps back from the details to focus more on the meaning. John presents more of a theological gospel. This style is consistent with the way intuitors write.� Grant, Thompson, and Clarke, __ From Image to Likeness__
This suggests that the four psychological processes in Jungian theory may also be viewed as four communication styles. The authors of Discipling claim that �anyone who studies all four of the gospels should be able to identify with Jesus regardless of whether that person is an extravert or an introvert, a sensor or an intuitor, a thinker or a feeler, a judger or a perceiver. All people, regardless of their psychological type, should be able to identify with Jesus. Something is wrong with a proclamation of Jesus if only the ESFJs can identify with Him. Such a result would indicate that one is preaching only half of nature.�

For all the talk of Enneagram numbers and discussion of Jungian types, one might get the mistaken notion that psychological processes of integration, individuation and maturation, and that spiritual processes of formation, reformation and transformation, are all about producing Imago Dei personality clones. As we know from 1 Corinthians 12 and our understanding of the Mystical Body, nothing could be further from the truth. When Solomon wrote in Proverbs 22:6: �Train up a child in his own way and even when he is old he will not depart from it�, he may have been affirming some modern Jungian notions.

The authors of Discipling elaborate: �The Holy Spirit changes people when they become Christians--but not by making us identical in psychological type. The growth that comes from the Holy Spirit produces a body with many different members that perform many different functions in many different ways. Influences that cause people to become identical in psychological type do not come from the Holy Spirit.�

I would agree. While integration, individuation and maturation occur within a person�s true inborn type, a person�s true type doesn�t change. Changes in psychological type, resulting from environmental pressures, are not healthy. In fact, the authors note that �it has been said that trying to change a person from one psychological type to another is like spanking a child for using the left hand.�

There are even physiological foundations for personality types:



And there is a distinct pathology associated with the changing of types through environmental pressures, called the Prolonged Adaptation Stress Syndrome :


Other quotations that bolster the Discipling authors� claims:

�The finest examples of type development result when children's immediate environment encourages their native capacities. However, when an environment squarely conflicting with their capacities forces children to depend on unnatural processes or attitudes, the result is a falsification of type, which robs its victims of their real selves and makes them into inferior, frustrated copies of other people.�
Isabel and Peter Myers, __ Gifts Differing__

�Isabel Myers believed that type preferences were inborn, but that environmental pressures were important in determining the likelihood of optimum type development. . Myers wrote that when external influences cause falsification of type, emotional difficulties will follow. It is for this reason that this Manual cautions counselors to check carefully with their clients and with their own observations of the client for evidence of type
falsification. This is particularly important in counseling because a goal of treatment is to identify and strengthen the inherent preferences, not to continue the falsification process.�
Mary McCaulley , __MBTI Manual__

�As a rule, whenever such a falsification of type takes place as a result of external influences, the individual becomes neurotic later . . . A reversal of type often proves exceedingly harmful to the physiological well-being of the organism, often provoking an acute state of exhaustion.�
Carl Jung __ Psychological Types__

Misguided religious influences could be an environmental influence causing people to deny their true type and try to become a copy of someone else. Martin Buber tells the story of a rabbi who tried all his life to become another Moses, but he never succeeded. Finally he stood before God in judgment and God said, "You are not condemned for your failure to become another Moses; you are condemned for your failure to become yourself."
Flavil R. Yeakley, Jr

�Christianity, of course, requires one kind of change in personality. Christians are being made over after the image of Jesus Christ. His divine nature, however, is reflected in individuals whose gifts differ. Christian growth does not require falsification of type. Indeed, spiritual growth is hindered by any effort to deny one's true type and become a copy of someone else.�
Howard W. Norton, Don E. Vinzant and Gene Vinzant

Clearly, changing psychological type scores do not indicate normal healthy development, but may indicate a dangerous falsification of type.

There are more extensive notes here for awhile.

Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Didn't you start a discussion on exactly the same topic 15 minutes ago on another thread? Confused
Posts: 158 | Registered: 14 February 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The other thread was intentionally left open-ended, so to speak. Smiler
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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