FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 329 LETTER TO HUGH HEFNER ( After touring the Playboy mansion Peter O’Toole said, “This is the way God would have done it if he had the money.”) Featured Artist is Katrin Sigurdardóttir

Francis Schaeffer has rightly noted concerning Hugh Hefner that Hefner’s goal  with the “playboy mentality is just to smash the puritanical ethnic.” I have made the comparison throughout this series of blog posts between Hefner and King Solomon (the author of the BOOK of ECCLESIASTES).  I have noticed that many preachers who have delivered sermons on Ecclesiastes have also mentioned Hefner as a modern day example of King Solomon especially because they both tried to find sexual satisfaction through the volume of women you could slept with in a lifetime.

Ecclesiastes 2:8-10 The Message (MSG)

I piled up silver and gold,
        loot from kings and kingdoms.
I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song,
    and—most exquisite of all pleasures—
    voluptuous maidens for my bed.

9-10 Oh, how I prospered! I left all my predecessors in Jerusalem far behind, left them behind in the dust. What’s more, I kept a clear head through it all. Everything I wanted I took—I never said no to myself. I gave in to every impulse, held back nothing. I sucked the marrow of pleasure out of every task—my reward to myself for a hard day’s work!

1 Kings 11:1-3 English Standard Version (ESV)

11 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love.He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.

Francis Schaeffer observed concerning Solomon, “You can not know woman by knowing 1000 women.”

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Francis August Schaeffer (January 30, 1912 – May 15, 1984[1])

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building of king solomon’s temple

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The Judgment of Solomon, 1617 by Peter Paul Rubens(1577–1640)

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Steel mezzotint engraving by John Sartain
of the 1863 painting by Christian Schussele

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Adrian Pierce Rogers (September 12, 1931 – November 15, 2005)

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Larry Joe Speaks  (August 20, 1947 to April 7, 2017)

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On April 16, 2017 is the day we celebrate Easter which is about Christ’s resurrection from the dead!!!

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Hugh Hefner and Barbi Benton at the Playboy Mansion in LA

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Will Smith, Hugh-Hefner, Karyn Parsons and Alfonso Ribeiro at the Playboy Mansion

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__Hugh Hefner, Lawrence Fishburne and Dennis Hopper in 2005 at the Playboy Mansion

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__April 16, 2017Hugh HefnerPlayboy Mansion16236 Charing Cross RoadLos Angeles, CA 90024Dear Hugh,

Today is Easter and I wanted to talk to you about that especially at the end of this letter. I hope you got a chance to go to church today. What is Easter about anyway? I can assure you one thing and that it would not have been necessary for Christ to die and be raised again if we could simply EARN our way to heaven. Ironically, I wrote you today about your LABOR (your life’s work).Hugh, you built an empire on the Playboy Magazine and then you attempted to make your PLAYBOY MANSION WEST a showplace for  everything you stood for. In  fact, after touring it Peter O’Toole said, “This is the way God would have done it if he had the money.” I read Steven Watts’ book “MR PLAYBOY: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream” and on page 274 it asserts:Surrounding the mansion were six acres of land with a greenhouse, game-house, guesthouse, sweeping lawns in front and back, and the largest stand of redwoods in Southern California. Almost immediately, however, Hefner decided to extensively renovate the grounds to create a personal fantasy setting.Anthony Haden-Guest in an article for ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE in 1973 noted:“…a mullioned slab of Old Englishry, a gray gleam of ersatz granite in the Southern California sunlight. To the back the image dissolves, re-forms. Sexy vicarage metamorphoses to miniature Versailles.”I have personally visited Versailles in France and I can see from these pictures that Anthony Haden-Guest is right.3000 years ago Solomon reached the same conclusion in the Book of Ecclesiastes concerning his LABOR:I have seen everything that is done UNDER THE SUN, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. (Ecclesiastes 2:14).Therefore, it just seems proper since many times in the past you have been  called a modern day Solomon to  compare you to King Solomon and look at what both you and Solomon have accomplished in the area of LABOR (or his life’s work). For Solomon that basically came down to the labor he commissioned in his building campaigns through out his kingdom plus the effort he put forth building his own palace and the temple in Jerusalem.II Chronicles 9:15-28:

15 King Solomon made 200 large shields of beaten gold; 600 shekels[d] of beaten gold went into each shield. 16 And he made 300 shields of beaten gold; 300 shekels of gold went into each shield; and the king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. 17 The king also made a great ivory throne and overlaid it with pure gold… 20 All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. Silver was not considered as anything in the days of Solomon.21 For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Hiram. Once every three years the ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.

22 Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom23 And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind. 24 Every one of them brought his present, articles of silver and of gold, garments, myrrh, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year. 25 And Solomon had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots, and 12,000 horsemen, whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem.26 And he ruled over all the kings from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt. 27 And the king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stone, and he made cedar as plentiful as the sycamore of the Shephelah.28 And horses were imported for Solomon from Egypt and from all lands.

1 Kings 7:1-9 English Standard Version (ESV)

Solomon Builds His Palace

7Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished his entire house.

He built the House of the Forest of Lebanon….And it was covered with cedar above the chambers that were on the forty-five pillars, fifteen in each row. There were window frames in three rows, and window opposite window in three tiers. All the doorways and windows had square frames, and window was opposite window in three tiers….There was a porch in front with pillars, and a canopy in front of them.

And he made the Hall of the Throne where he was to pronounce judgment, even the Hall of Judgment. It was finished with cedar from floor to rafters.

His own house where he was to dwell, in the other court back of the hall, was of like workmanship. Solomon also made a house like this hall for Pharaoh’s daughterwhom he had taken in marriage.

All these were made of costly stones, cut according to measure, sawed with saws, back and front, even from the foundation to the coping, and from the outside to the great court. 

Ecclesiastes 2:4-11 English Standard Version (ESV)

made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines,[a] the delight of the sons of man.

So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil.11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

I have read a lot about your life and your life is the closest I can think of to the universal man that Francis Schaeffer talks about in the past. Schaeffer’s two examples are Leonardo da Vinci and Solomon. 

Below are the comments of Francis Schaeffer on Solomon and the Book of Ecclesiastes:

Leonardo da Vinci and Solomon both were universal men searching for the meaning in life. Solomon was searching for a meaning in the midst of the details of life. His struggle was to find the meaning of life. Not just plans in life. Anybody can find plans in life. A child can fill up his time with plans of building tomorrow’s sand castle when today’s has been washed away. There is  a difference between finding plans in life and purpose in life. Humanism since the Renaissance and onward has never found it and it has never found it. Modern man has not found it and it has always got worse and darker in a very real way.

We have here the declaration of Solomon’s universality:

1 Kings 4:30-34

English Standard Version (ESV)

30 so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser than all other men…and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. 32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. 33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. 34 And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.

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Here is the universal man and his genius. Solomon is the universal man with a empire at his disposal. Solomon had it all.

Ecclesiastes 1:3

English Standard Version (ESV)

What does man gain by all the toil
    at which he toils under the sun?

Solomon took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes.

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The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.” 

Many have tried sexual exploits just like Solomon did, and many have thrown their efforts into  business too.Sadly Solomon also found the pursuit of great works in his labor just as empty. In Ecclesiastes 2:11 he asserted, “THEN I CONSIDERED ALL THAT MY HANDS HAD DONE AND THE TOLL I HAD EXPENDED IN DOING IT, AND BEHOLD, ALL WAS VANITY AND A STRIVING AFTER WIND, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

HUGH, OF ALL PEOPLE YOU PROBABLY THINK YOU HAVE COME UP WITH SOMETHING TRULY NEW UNDER THE SUN!!!!!!

Many like you have claimed that they have pioneered something new.   But Solomon noted in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”

Holman Old Testament Commentary Volume 14, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon byDaniel Akin and David Moore:

Solomon now moves to the second way he demonstrated that life apart from God has no meaning–that there is nothing new under the sun. At first glance these words seem naive. Saying that there is nothing new seems like an overstatement. Today we have many things like computers and cars that the ancients never had. So how can Solomon make the claim that there is nothing new under the sun?

Solomon’s point is to direct our attention to the fact that things like power, status, wealth, and pleasure are the same things that people have always pursued in search of the “good life.” The “packaging” of these things is certainly different today–cars instead of chariots–but the quest is basically the same. There is no new pursuit that can give meaning and purpose to our lives apart from God.

After the 1972 Super Bowl Dewayne Thomas the star of the game was asked, “What does it feel like to win the ultimate game?” Thomas declared, “If it’s the ultimate game, why is it being played again next year?”His response captures the spirit of this passage.

Many people through history have reminded me of  Solomon because they are looking for  lasting meaning in their life and they are looking in the same  6 areas that King Solomon did in what I call the 6 big L words. He looked into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies,luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11)and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes he looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is:Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

Photo of Larry Joe Speaks

I started writing this series of 7 letters to you concerning Solomon and the meaning of life after the death of my good friend Larry Speaks. During the last 20 years of his life Larry would hand out CD’s of Adrian Rogers’ message WHO IS JESUS? and I wanted to share one of the points that is made in that sermon that particularly applies today since it is EASTER:

Simon Peter gave THREE LINES OF EVIDENCE, three witnesses; and we use these same three witnesses when we share Jesus today.  Let’s look at Acts chapter 10:

39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

I  THE PERSONAL WITNESS OF THE SAINTS (Acts 10:39)

  1. The apostles were a diverse group, yet they were united in their witness.  Among them:
    1. John was young, observant and sensitive.
    2. Peter was a rough, hard-working fisherman.
    3. Simon the Zealot was a political activist.
    4. Nathaniel and Thomas both tended to be skeptical and inquiring.
    5. Matthew was a hardened, political businessman.
    6. Andrew was gentle and compassionate.
    7. Philip was a calculating thinker.
    8. James was a straight shooter.
  2. They were eyewitnesses of the virtuous life of Jesus.
    1. Acts 10:34 & 38
    2. Matthew 17:1-5
  3. They were eyewitnesses of His vicarious death.
    1. Acts 10:39
    2. Deuteronomy 21:23
  4. They were eyewitnesses of His victorious resurrection.
    1. Acts 10:40-41

II THE PROPHETIC WITNESS OF THE SCRIPTURES  (Acts 10:43) (We looked at this in a previous letter.)

III THE PERSUASIVE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT  (Acts 10:44)

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Today is Easter and it is a day that Christ died NOT for his own sins because he was sinless,  but for ours (Romans 10:9) so we could receive the free gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8). Through your LABOR you can NOT earn salvation.

Romans 10:8-13 English Standard Version (ESV)

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, Little Rock, AR 72221

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Featured artist is Katrin Sigurdardóttir

Katrín Sigurdardóttir was born in 1967 in Reykjavik and lives and works in New York. With a background in filmmaking and painting, the artist now works in sculpture and installation, creating works that challenge ideas of space, memory, and perception.

Having produced miniature replicas of buildings such as her childhood home and elementary school, as well as models of real and imagined Icelandic topographies, Sigurdardóttir has long considered place as a construction of the mind. Her conceptual installations often distort scale in order to challenge perceptions of time and distance. In addition to employing traditional sculptural techniques, Sigurdardóttir also works with processes such as cartography and architectural model making

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