This book provides a focus for future discussion in one of the most important debates within historical theology within the protestant tradition - the debate about the definition of a category of analysis that operates over five centuries of religious faith and practice and in a globalising religion. In March 2009, TIME magazine listed ‘the new Calvinism’ as being among the ‘ten ideas shaping the world.’ In response to this revitalisation of reformation thought, R. Scott Clark and D. G. Hart have proposed a definition of ‘Reformed’ that excludes many of the theologians who have done most to promote this driver of global religious change. In this book, the Clark-Hart proposal becomes the focus of a debate. Matthew Bingham, Chris Caughey, and Crawford Gribben suggest a broader and (they argue) more historically responsible definition for ‘Reformed,’ as Hart and Scott respond to their arguments.
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.
The English Civil War and its aftermath was a time of human devastation, political uncertainty and religious instability. Amid the turmoil of those times, however, the Church of England also saw intense liturgical inventiveness. The Directory for Public Worship, Jeremy Taylor's Communion Office, and Richard Baxter's Reformed Liturgy, are all examples of resourceful liturgies born out of the ashes of the English Civil War. The Church of England had not witnessed such liturgical innovation since Thomas Cranmer, and would not see such creativity again until the end of the twentieth century - at least in terms of liturgical texts. In Richard Baxter's Reformation of the Liturgy, Glen J. Segger examines the theology and ecclesiology of Baxter’s liturgical opus. While never approved for public use, the Reformed Liturgy remains an important and creative liturgy representative of those who fought for their Puritan convictions, but lost.