The Sacramentarians defended their false doctrine with great obstinacy, but at the same time they held that the doctrine of the sacraments was not important enough to dispute about. This is the reason that Zwingli, although still in disagreement with Luther after the Marburg Colloquy of 1529, offered Luther his hand in fellowship. Luther recounted about this issue:
Thus they (the Sacramentarians) sufficiently indicate how little they value the matter of the majesty and glory of God's Word. If in their hearts they earnestly believed that it is God's Word, they would not so frivolously play and toy with it but would hold it in the highest esteem and, without doubt and dispute, believe what it says and reveals. They would know as well that one of God's words is one with all of His Word and in turn that all of God's words are one. They would know that all the articles of our Christian faith are one and in turn that one article is all of the others. If they abandon one article, then surely in time all of them, one after another, will fall by the way; for one depends upon the other, and they belong together…
Without a doubt, then, if you deny God in one article, most certainly you have denied Him in all of them. For He does not let Himself be divided piecemeal into many articles, but He completely and wholly in each one of them; and, at the same time, in all of them, He is one God…. In brief, we must keep all articles of the Christian faith, whether great or small (though for us none is greater or smaller), pure and certain and not compromise one jot. This is how it must be. For doctrine is the sole lamp which lights and leads the way to heaven. if we allow it to be weakened or diluted at one point, then without question it will become powerless altogether.
If we overlook this, love will be of no avail. We can be saved without the love and unity of the Sacramentarians, but it cannot happen without pure doctrine and faith…. Therefore it is not at all valid if one attempts to compare doctrine with life, for much more depends on one letter, indeed one single jot, of Scripture than on heaven and earth…. Thus we must learn more highly to honor the majesty and splendor of Scripture; for it is not the minor and facile thing the enthusiasts imagine, one tittle of it is more and greater than heaven and earth. Hence we are not inquiring here about Christian unity and love, but we are turning at once to the seat of judgment; that is, we judge and condemn all who in the least falsify and twist the majesty of the Word for "a little leaven sours the whole lump" [1 Cor 5:6; Gal 5:9].
You must clearly understand the thoughts expressed by Luther. He underscores that all the words of God are God's one Word and that all the articles of faith are one article of faith. Luther is pointing out that Christian doctrines are so intimately interconnected that if one is denied, then all are affected when the error is consistently carried through.
- excerpt from Franz Pieper, 'Lectures on the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the True Visible Church of God on Earth, The Tenth Lecture'