Sanctuary Alive: My Long Walk with God is a positive apologia, a book showing that a choice of spiritual disobedience worked for the positive in the life of Bonnye Matthews. Bonnye was faced with a demand at an early age that she quit pretending she talked with God and knew his answers to her questions. Her spiritual mentor, her Great Aunt, had taught her the old Bible stories from the age of two years old and spent much time with her, teaching her the Westminster catechism for children, the parts of the church building, Christian songs for children, and shared her love of Jesus Christ. Bonnye loved church and became close to God there.
Her mother heard her talking and discovered Bonnye’s claim that she talked with God—just as she would with a person. She knew what pretend was from her play and what a hallucination was from a diphtheria shot. Bonnye knew her talking with God was neither. She strongly defended her “walk with God,” because it was the most beautiful part of her life. She tried to defend herself by restating what she heard in church, “Enoch walked with God!” Her mother refused to accept her defense, assuring her daughter that God talked to people a very long time ago and didn’t need to do that now, “because we have the Bible.” She also assured Bonnye that she was not like Enoch.
When her dad returned from Europe at the end of WWII, the family began their military itinerant lifestyle where something like a church where the community of believers was concerned with members’ spiritual growth from cradle to grave was beyond reach.
Bonnye reasoned that if it was okay with God (He talked with her!), her walk with Him should be okay with her mother, so she kept her “walk with God,” hiding it from every person on earth until late in her life. Bonnye would let many things go, but not her walk with God. He grew her spiritually throughout life. She would refer to her choice to continue her walk with Him as holy disobedience because good fruit grew from her “walk with God.” In Sanctuary Alive: My Long Walk with God, Matthews shares vignettes from that walk she experienced.