A bestselling evangelical Christian author just came out as gay while announcing his divorce from his wife

Matthew Paul Turner with wife Jessica, and their three children

Bestselling evangelical Christian author Matthew Paul Turner has announced that he is divorcing his wife of 16 years because he is gay.

According to Religion News Service, Turner is known for his rhyming children’s books, including When I Pray for You published in 2019, a Today, Publisher’s Weekly and Wall Street Journal bestseller.

He met his wife, Jessica, online 17 years ago, got married in 2004 and have three children together.

But in a Facebook post on Friday, 17 July, Turner announced: “After much thought, prayer, and counselling, 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.”

The Christian author explained that being gay was not a “new discovery” for him, and added: “As 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.

“Though my own faith evolved long ago to become LGBT+ affirming, my journey toward recognising, accepting and embracing myself took much longer.

“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.”

He added that his wife had “loved and encouraged” him to be himself, despite “her own grief and pain”.

Jessica also posted on social media addressing her separation from Turner, writing: “My husband, my best friend has bravely shared his deepest truth this past year. He is gay.

“While this doesn’t change how much we love him, it does change our relationship. We are moving forward with ending our marriage, while remaining deeply committed to our family and each other.”

Matthew Paul Turner said he will continue to write books about ‘God’s love for children’.

Matthew Paul Turner added: “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 honour and privilege I do not take for granted.”

He said that coming out to his own children was “one of the hardest, most beautiful things I’ve ever done”.

“Loving and protecting their stories will always be our first priority,” he said.