Matthew Paul Turner, former editor of CCM magazine and a Christian children's book author, has come out as gay on social media. Additionally, Turner has announced that he and his wife Jessica are divorcing as he seeks to "embrace freedom, hope, and God as a gay man."
Turner announced on Facebook and Instagram Friday morning. "Dear friends, I have difficult news to share. After much thought, prayer, and counseling, Jessica and I have made the decision to end our marriage. While we're best friends and thoroughly love doing life, parenting, and pursuing our dreams together, ending our marriage is necessary because I am gay."
"(A)s someone who spent 30+ years in fundamentalist/evangelical churches, exploring God through conservative theologies, I've lived many days overwhelmed by fear, shame, and self-hatred," he continued. "But for the first time in my life, despite the sadness and grief I'm feeling right now, I can say with confidence that I'm ready to embrace freedom, hope, and God as a gay man."
Jessica Turner, who is also an author and founder of the blog The Mom Creative, wrote in a Facebook post: "We are moving forward with ending our marriage, while remaining deeply committed to our family and each other. We are all adjusting to a new normal, with our home now extended under two rooftops."
Matthew Paul Turner will continue to write children's books. "I will continue to write children's books and am grateful for the support of my publisher Convergent Books. Writing books about wholeness, hope, and God's love for children is an honor and privilege I do not take for granted.
That said, we ask that you be kind and respectful toward us. Anyone who posts comments laced in shame, criticism of our family, our theology, or our choices will be blocked. Throughout these hard months, Jessica and I have looked at each other many times and said, "we're going to be okay." And on most days, we fully believe that. Please keep us in your thoughts, prayers as we engage this new path."
The Nashville-based couple, who married in 2004, have three children together.
Matthew Paul Turner has made his mark as a force in the Christian children's book publishing market. With his unmatched gift for rhyme blended with deliberate messages of hope and empowerment, Turner's books When God Made You and When God Made Light have become bedtime favorites for families across America. His latest anticipated release is When I Pray for You, which will debut in February 2019.
Turner's storied writing career started nearly 20 years ago, and he has published a book every year. Called "one of Christianity's fresh voices" by Publisher's Weekly, Turner's other notable works include Our Great Big American God, Churched, Coffeehouse Gospel and The Christian Culture Survival Guide.
When God Made You was an Evangelical Christian Publishing Association Bestseller, described as "'Oh, the Places You'll Go' meets the Divine" by recording artist Amy Grant.