Baptists are not often thought of as leading theologians and practitioners of worship. But forgotten in history is one crucial fact: the Baptist tradition formed out of a desire to worship God purely. Early Baptists devoted immense energy to questions of worship and drew conclusions of even contemporary value. Through the seismic liturgical shifts of English society in the seventeenth century, worship was both their most galvanizing and disintegrating impulse. As time passed and terminology changed and Baptists shied away from this divisive topic, this emphasis was lost. No one today considers worship a Baptist distinctive.
Pure Worship re-creates the fascinating historical context of the early years of the English Baptists. Examining many thousands of manuscript pages, Matthew Ward pieces together an entire theology of worship that not only guided the early Baptists but also attracted the attention of many elements of English Christianity. Baptist thoughts on worship were neither minor nor tangential but the very heart of what distinguished them from the rest of England. Pure Worship offers a complete reenvisioning of what it meant to be an early Baptist and reveals their overwhelming desire to be known as pure worshippers of God.