Compromised truth has no hope of rescuing the eternal souls of men and women
From the very beginning, the enemies of truth launched an effort to infiltrate and confuse the people of God by mangling the truth and by blending lies with Christian doctrine. Attacks against the truth regularly came not only from persecutors on the outside but also from false teachers and professing believers within the visible community of the church.
Martin Luther wasn’t prone to compromise. He famously said in his sermon “Knowledge of God’s Will and Its Fruit”:
The world at the present time is sagaciously discussing how to quell the controversy and strife over doctrine and faith, and how to effect a compromise between the Church and the Papacy. Let the learned, the wise, it is said, bishops, emperor and princes, arbitrate. Each side can easily yield something, and it is better to concede some things which can be construed according to individual interpretation, than that so much persecution, bloodshed, war, and terrible, endless dissension and destruction be permitted.
Here is lack of understanding, for understanding proves by the Word that such patchwork is not according to God’s will, but that doctrine, faith and worship must be preserved pure and unadulterated; there must be no mingling with human nonsense, human opinions or wisdom.
The Scriptures give us this rule: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
It is interesting to speculate what the church would be like today if Luther had compromised. The pressure was heavy on him to tone down his teaching, soften his message, and stop poking his finger in the eye of the papacy. Even many of his friends and supporters urged Luther to come to terms with Rome for the sake of harmony in the church. Luther himself prayed earnestly that the effect of his teaching would not be divisive.
When he nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door, the last thing he wanted to do was split the church.