Former atheist Lee Strobel has revealed he once shared the gospel with Hugh Hefner and gave the late "Playboy" founder a copy of his best-selling book, "The Case for Christ."
Last week, Strobel, whose powerful conversion experience was recently turned into a hit movie, appeared on the "The Billy Hallowell Podcast" and revealed he once visited Hefner's notorious Playboy Mansion to interview "Hef" about his views on theology.
"We went over to the Playboy mansion, which for me was just freaky," Strobel said. "It was the last place I ever expected to go."
At first, Hefner wasn't aware that Strobel was an evangelical Christian. When he found out, he seemed genuinely interested in what Strobel had to say about the Bible, and the two men had a "great conversation."
"He was quite engaging in terms of the conversation. We talked about what he believed and he had a very minimalistic, deistic view of God," Strobel said. "He said he has a minimal belief in God."
But while Hefner said he didn't think Jesus was the "son of God," he "perked up" when it came to the resurrection.
Hefner told Strobel he was at "the head of the line hoping it's all true" but that the rational part of him prevented him from truly believing.
"He saw the relevance of the resurrection, he saw the significance of it," Strobel said.
The evangelical author was later able to share the gospel with Hefner, explaining that humans are "separated by our sin, by wrongdoing" and that Jesus "offers forgiveness as a free gift of his grace."
Strobel also shared his own conversion story, and Hefner "seemed genuinely curious."
Before he left, Strobel left a copy of his bestselling book "The Case for Christ" for Hefner, and expressed his hope that he would read it.
Hefner founded Playboy -- a magazine promoting sex and sexual freedom -- in 1953 and eventually grew the magazine into a multimillion-dollar entertainment empire. Hefner, who married thrice in his lifetime, died on September 27 at his home, the Playboy Mansion near Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 91.
Following his death, several evangelical leaders -- including Russell Moore and Franklin Graham -- warned against remembering his life as a "success" or "a dream."
"Hefner is the iconic figure who not only made pornography socially respectable (and even more lucrative), but also spent a life constructing a 'playboy philosophy' of sexual freedom that would supposedly undo the 'Puritan sexual repression he saw in American life,'" wrote Moore.
"Hefner did not create, but marketed ingeniously the idea that a man's life consists in the abundance of his possessions and of his orgasms," he said. "To women, he marketed frenetically the idea that a woman's value consists in her sexual availability and attractiveness to men."
Evangelist Ray Comfort said Hefner "did for pornography and perversion what Planned Parenthood did for the killing of children in the womb. He legitimized it."
He continued, "But now he's gone and he has to face the one who said, 'Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.' And who of us hasn't broken that commandment? We'd end up guilty on judgement day if it weren't for God's amazing grace."
"Let's hope Mr. Hefter repented and put his trust in Jesus so that he could escape the damnation of hell," Comfort said. "Whatever the case, he's gone -- you're still here. Get right with God today, because you may not have tomorrow."