Author’s Note: Discussion of sex that follows may be frank or a little uncomfortable for some. Rated PG-13.
I woke up this morning to find on my Facebook feed a video obituary from CNN of the life of Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy.
He passed away Wednesday at the age of 91. He was, as The New York Times‘ obituary put it, inseparable from the brand he popularized:
Both advertised themselves as emblems of the sexual revolution, an escape from American priggishness and wider social intolerance. Both were derided over the years — as vulgar, as adolescent, as exploitative, and finally as anachronistic. But Mr. Hefner was a stunning success from his emergence in the early 1950s. His timing was perfect.
His timing was perfect because the timing of sin is always perfect.
Hefner, like every other man in history, was a sinner, just as I am. But he made a fortune, a living and a fame off of sexual sin.
Many in the church lament the place sexual sin has in our culture now. It indeed is mainstream, and we are all affected by it in one way or the other, with countless people addicted to pornography and affairs happening left and right among the rich and famous, splashed on our TV screens everyday.
But we can’t blame Hefner for this. We can’t blame one man’s personal choices and business decisions for the sin nature we already possessed. As Russell Moore so eloquently put it on Twitter this morning:
He did not create, but marketed frenetically the idea that a woman’s value consists in her sexual availability and attractiveness to men.
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) September 28, 2017
Sin and Satan created the idea that sex should be freely accessible and open outside the confines of marriage. Sin and Satan created the idea that women are to be sexual objects for man’s pleasure. Hef simply exploited it.
You can’t really blame him. He simply picked up on something man was already prone to when he published the first issue of Playboy in 1953.
Thankfully, there is a rescue from a life of sin. That rescue is called grace, and that rescuer is called Jesus. He may not heal us completely of our sinful nature, but He’ll heal us from the consequences of that sinful nature. Praise the Lord for that.
I hope and pray that, in his later days, Hef found the Jesus of the Bible as I and many others have found Him. I’d love to chat with him in heaven about what he learned about the culture of sex and humanity.