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. "In the midst of numerous books on the worship wars, how refreshing to find one based on history, fact, and deep theological reflection. Yet, Pure Worship is instantly readable and fascinating." --Paige Patterson, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Texas "Having read deeply in seventeenth-century Puritanism, Matthew Ward offers here an illuminating thesis. He argues that English Baptists were compelled liturgically and theologically by the need to worship God purely. Travel with a scholarly writer through the literature yet also be prepared to be gripped with a profound desire for humanity's proper response to God and His salvation." --Malcolm B. Yarnell III, Professor of Systematic Theology, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Texas Matthew Ward spent thirteen years as a minister of worship and is now an associate pastor in Thomson, Georgia. His PhD is in Free Church theology, and he has taught Western history at The College at Southwestern in Fort Worth, Texas. He has several publications about worship and Baptists and is currently working on a sourcebook for the hymn-singing controversy. He and his wife, Shelly, have two kids, Micah and Sarah.