Christian apologist and author Lee Strobel has shared the details about the time he talked about the Gospel with Playboy founder Hugh Hefner when he interviewed the magazine publisher in his famous mansion over a decade ago.
Following the news of Hefner's death last month, Strobel sparked a bit of intrigue and speculation when he tweeted that he once shared the Gospel with the late Playboy magnate, adding that he "saw significance of the resurrection, but had never checked the evidence."
On Thursday, Strobel appeared on "The Billy Hallowell Podcast" and shared more details about his encounter with Hefner.
Strobel, who was hosting a national TV show called "Faith Under Fire" in 2004, recounted that he was able to secure an interview with Hefner at the time because one of his producers had a connection with someone employed by Playboy.
When Strobel came to the Playboy mansion for the interview, Hefner immediately offered a tour of the estate, but the Christian apologist declined.
"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. He said he has a minimal belief in God," Strobel recalled.
The apologist noted that it was a theological stance that is "quite convenient" for people like Hefner because it removes any real and viable moral responsibility on behalf of human beings.
"A God like that, of course, does not put any moral demands on anybody. [Hefner] said, 'The God of Christianity is a little too childlike for me,'" Strobel said, according to The Christian Post.
The apologist noted that Hefner seemed to be surprised when he revealed at one point in the interview that he was a Christian.
When Strobel started talking about Jesus, Hefner revealed that he did not think that Jesus was the "son of God" any more than any other human being is, but he "perked up" when the apologist brought up the subject of the resurrection.
Hefner reportedly said that any evidence for the resurrection would drop "a series of dominos" that would prove a number of theological claims, including the existence of the afterlife. The Playboy magnate told Strobel that he was hoping that it was all true, but noted that the rational part of him is holding him back from believing such sentiment.
"He saw the relevance of the resurrection, he saw the significance of it," Strobel said, noting that Hefner had never investigated the evidence and never even considered that there could be an actual proof of the event.
It was after the cameras were turned off that Strobel was able to share the Gospel with the Playboy founder. The apologist explained to Hefner how humans are separated from God "by our sin, by wrongdoing" and that Jesus "offers forgiveness as a free gift of his grace."
Strobel also shared how he himself was once an atheist journalist who sought to disprove Christianity but ended up embracing the faith due to overwhelming evidence. He gave Hefner a copy of his bestselling book, "The Case for Christ," and expressed hope that he would read it.
Hefner reportedly did not reach out to Strobel for further meetings, but he sent the Christian apologist a Christmas card that year.