An Enemy Of Christ
Who? Those who walk "contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned." The doctrine here involved is apostolic doctrine, that which came from God, revealed by the Spirit to the apostles. Those who walk "contrary" to it are to be avoided. "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause division and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." (Rom. 16:17-18)
Paul had under consideration here the efforts of the Judaistic teachers which were causing trouble and division being contrary to the gospel. These were professed Christians bent upon teaching the Gentiles they must be circumcised and keep the law to be saved. Today advocates of a modified form of this theory of Jewish supremacy are troubling churches all over the country. Paul says, "mark them," identify them, and avoid them.
The comment of R. L. Whiteside on these verses in "A New Commentary On Paul's Letter To The Saints At Rome" is profound and deserving of application:
"Contrary to the doctrine which ye learned" covers a wide field, such as mechanical music in worship, the organization of societies to do the work of the church, and various schemes to raise money. (Emphasis mine, J. R. S.) The man who causes divisions in the Lord's church by the introduction of things not taught is an enemy of Christ, even though he may not think so. His interest is in self, and not in Christ."
We need to open our eyes to the divisive efforts of those today, who are preaching and teaching the opinionated theories of the day and recognize them for what they are. Such teachers are enemies of Christ. Professing to be Christians, in some instances kinsmen in the flesh, they seek opportunity to betray us into the hands of Satan, perhaps not intentionally, but true nevertheless. They pounce upon their prey armed not with the Word of God which will confirm our faith but with the poison of the pen of those of similar opinions in an effort to drive from the hearts of the simple "the faith once delivered" and in its place plant the destructive seed of man's wisdom. When one comes in unto you, regardless of who he is, and attempts to get you to accept as a valid religious course that for which he does not offer book, chapter and verse for its proper setting, he is not serving the Lord but his own selfish purposes. He thus makes of himself an enemy of Christ. Thus identified, these must be avoided.
— 205 N. Fulton, Butler, Missouri