Recently, as I was scanning over a few blogs I follow, I came across an article on Dr. Larry Dixon’s site. It was a prayer written by Roman Catholic priest Frank Pavone (who is also an anti-abortion activist involved with the organization Priests for Life), in which he was asking for the conversion of those involved in Planned Parenthood. I left a comment asking Dr. Dixon about it, and here’s the conversation that followed. 
Me: Hi, Dr. Dixon. I just wanted to know if you are aware that Frank Pavone is a Catholic.
Dr. Dixon: Annsley: Thank you so much for reading my blog. I’m a bit puzzled — my post described Mr. Pavone as a priest, right? I side with my Catholic friends when it comes to right-to-life issues. Blessings. Dr. D.
Me: I noticed the designation, but I don’t understand how partnering with people who are in willing and direct conflict with God’s Word is going to help win the fight to end abortion. I am very much against the legalized slaughter of the unborn, but I don’t believe that saving lives is the end of the mission. Saving souls is the primary goal, a goal which must, in this case, be preceded with saving the life. With that said, I don’t see how we are doing the unborn any good by joining ranks with those who would endanger their souls.
Dr. Dixon: Thank you for your comment, Annsley. Should we join only born-again believers in fighting evil in our culture? I couldn’t agree more with you that Roman Catholicism is misleading many with a works-salvation message. But aren’t there circles of relationships which the caring Christian ought to be involved in? For example, I can stand with Catholics (and Mormons, for that matter) on the pro-life issue without condoning their false gospel. Just my thoughts. Blessings. Dr. D.
Me: Thank you for replying to my comments, Dr. Dixon, and for being willing to engage in conversation about this issue. This will be a long reply, but only because I respect you and wish to be unambiguous in explaining my stance on this matter.
As for what you said in your last reply, I think Scripture makes it abundantly clear that we cannot stand with unbelievers, especially those who teach a false gospel, without condoning that false gospel.
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
“Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you
“And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
So, yes. I believe we should join only born-again believers in fighting evil in our culture, because born-again believers are the only ones who have the means of fighting evil in our culture: the truth. I’ve heard many people say that they partner with Catholics and other false religions on the life issue because “together, we’re bigger than we are apart.” My response to that is “Why do we need to be bigger?” We have the Word of God which pierces the flesh and cuts to the bone and marrow and soul, and we don’t need a large crowd to use it.
If you have a large group of people with scissors trying to cut down a tree, they might scuff the bark, but they’re not going to get the job done, not because they’re not trying to, but because with all their trying they don’t have the tool for the job. They can’t get it done because they don’t have the means of accomplishing it. However, you get one man with a sharp axe who knows what he’s doing, and that tree will eventually go down. By himself, he will do what the whole crowd couldn’t, because he has the right tool for the job and they don’t.
My point is that we don’t need to partner with the ungodly to stop the ungodly. We don’t need to turn to one evil (compromise) in order to stop another evil (abortion). Not only that, but we can’t, not if we’re genuinely concerned for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we truly desire to obey His Word, we won’t partner with those whose entire goal is to destroy that Word and hide that precious gospel from the world. If we stop abortion completely, yet fail to preach the gospel, all is for nothing. What good is saving the life if we leave the soul to hell fire?
In closing, I noticed that you teach at CIU in Columbia, so I’m sure you’ve heard of Steve Lefemine, founder of Columbia Christians for Life.  There’s no reason for Christians to partner with Catholics (who call us “accursed” because of our belief in the Scriptural doctrines) when we have so many blood-bought brothers and sisters who are in this fight with us.
Thank you again for discussing this with me. In the love of the truth, Annsley <><
“Because Your lovingkindness is better than life…” Psalm 63:3
Dr. Dixon: Good morning, Annsley!
Thank you for your recent comment. And I appreciate the arguments that you make.
We may have to decide to disagree on this issue. I do not equate fighting the evils of society with other people (made in the image of God) as condoning their false gospels. Do unsaved people have any truth? If not, then why do we trust judges and government leaders (this second one is tough!) to lead us into more of a moral society?
Should Christians be in politics? Can a born-again believer be in government without compromising the gospel? Can he or she work with others for a just society (not as a substitute for the gospel, but in terms of common grace)?
If we partner only with other born-again believers, what about paying our taxes, voting, serving on juries? Should we live only with other believers in communes? I’m not seeking to be contentious, but I believe I can side with anyone on moral issues without condoning their false gospel.
I guess the end result of my position would be the possibility of compromising that which ought never to be compromised. The end result of your position (if I’ve understood you correctly) is isolationism from the lost — and I think 2 Cor. 6 is really talking about spiritual fellowship.
Happy to keep the conversation going, Annsley.
Me: Before I say anything else, let me just tell you that I’m extremely appreciative of your courteousness in this conversation, Dr. Dixon! Thank you for making this an enjoyable discussion.
I believe in Christian liberty (adiaphora) when it comes to the non-essentials of the faith, so I’m willing to “agree to disagree” on this point. I understand that no saint will have a perfect theology (whether in thought or practice), and that we should treat other believers with love and graciousness, as basically the whole chapter of Romans 14 tells us to. I do not believe that this question of partnering with Catholics is an issue that should break fellowship between genuine followers of Jesus Christ.
However, I do believe that Scripture backs up a form of biblical separation from the world that does not include isolation. I believe that Jesus said it best in His prayer to the Father in John 17:14-17:
“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”
The point is that while we are not to completely isolate ourselves from the world (if we did, how on earth would we fulfill Romans 10:13-17?), but that we are to be sanctified and made holy to the glory of God. If we’re saved, then we are not of this world, so we aren’t to act like we are. As for Christians living in communal societies in an attempt at greater holiness, the Pilgrims tried it when they first came to America, and it didn’t work out very well. It never does, because that’s not the way we as human beings are supposed to live. We’re commanded to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, and that requires being around unsaved people. It requires speaking with, witnessing to, and being friends with unbelievers.
I believe that Romans 14 is the best in-depth explanation of this concept of separation. In this chapter, Paul is laying out the principles of conscience that should affect the way a believer behaves around others. This chapter is speaking of the Christian’s relationships with other Christians, but I think the principle applies to our other relationships as well. When we count unbelievers among our personal friends, it involves our own personal opinions and judgments; when we count them among our ministry partners, it begins to involve the entire church (which is made up of our brothers and sisters) as well as those unbelievers to whom we are trying to minister.
When a believer abstains from certain things (whether it’s meat or partnerships with Catholics), he doesn’t necessarily do it for himself. He does it so that no one else will stumble as a result of his actions. When we don’t partner with our Catholic (or Mormon, Muslim, etc.) friends, it’s not necessarily for ourselves—it’s for the unsaved people who are watching us. Why should we confuse them by giving any hint of what could be considered a link between the orthodox and the heretical? Between the gospel that saves and the lies that condemn?
When Francis Chan appeared at an event with Todd White and Benny Hinn, it lost him the support and respect of many believers. Why? Because even though he might not have meant it to look like a ministry partnership, it did. An unfortunate fact that we have to live with is that nothing is ever out of the reach of scrutiny. (Which isn’t always a bad thing. While we shouldn’t be judgmental, we are supposed to judge rightly—John 7:24.) Chan said that he went to the event to share the gospel—but how were the people in the crowd supposed to know which gospel he was talking about? The true gospel of Christ or the prosperity gospel that was preached five minutes earlier?
To say all of that in a short way…
We shouldn’t isolate ourselves from those who are outside of the fold of Christ: we should share the gospel with them as we are commanded to in Scripture. Often this is accompanied by befriending them. However, we must distance ourselves from their false teachings and make absolutely certain that there is no confusion as to where the lines are drawn.
However, in the spirit of the same Romans 14, I am willing to defer to you in this matter rather than drag it out, since it is a nonessential of the faith. I only wanted to present another viewpoint, along with the Scriptures that I believe support it.
As for the other questions you asked…
1) I believe that even the unsaved have a certain measure of common grace (Matt. 5:45) which not only allows them to enjoy the gifts God gives through creation (music, good food, relationships, etc.) but also to have a hunger for the things God created us to do and know. They may not like what they’re looking for, but even unbelievers have a desire for the truth. If you don’t believe me, try lying to one.
2) I believe we should do as Romans 13:1-14 tell us—obey governmental authorities as long as they are not out of line with the Scriptures (or in America’s case, our nation’s Constitution).
3) Jesus paid taxes (Matthew 17:27) so as to not cause offense, and He also said to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” I think it’s safe to say we should pay our taxes (on time, by the way).
4) I see no conflict between being a Christian and running for office (or keeping up with the news). I believe it’s similar to being a Christian and a scientist, or an artist, or a mechanic: as long as being a servant of Christ comes first and the other vocation follows that, everything should be fine.
5) I strongly believe that as Christians, we should vote. No, we will never find a perfect leader for our nation, but we can elect the godlier of the two sinners who get past the primaries.
6) And I also don’t see any problem with serving on a jury. That seems to fall under the umbrella of Micah 6:8 (“do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God”).
Thank you again. Annsley <><
Me: Hi, Dr. Dixon. It’s me again. I just wanted to ask you for permission to post this conversation on my blog (semperscripto.com). I think it would be helpful for others to see the two different views presented in a respectful, Christian way.
Dr. Dixon: Annsley: Thank you so much for your reasoned reply. I’ll respond in a couple of days with more substance, but before then I would be honored for you to present these interchanges on your blog. (By the way, I think you’d like my new book “Unlike Jesus: Let’s Stop Unfriending the World.” Just a thought. Blessings. Dr. D.
I’m very much appreciative of Dr. Dixon’s willingness to discuss this subject, and of his graciousness and courtesy throughout the conversation. It made the discussion of the topic itself very Christian-like and helpful for both sides. (I’m also very grateful that he was willing to take the time to discuss this with me at all.)
Well, you’ve heard my opinion on this matter, as well as Dr. Dixon’s. Now I’d like to hear yours! Feel free to leave a comment below and tell me what you think: Should we as Christians partner with Catholics to stop abortion?
 You can also find it on Dr. Dixon’s blog page.
 Error on my part–I meant to write “director” of Columbia Christians for Life. But I’ve left it as it is because I don’t want to edit this conversation in any way that would change my or Dr. Dixon’s comments. The only editing I did was capitalize the “I” in my first comment. (As a homeschooler, I don’t know how I missed that to begin with!)