Although Baptists seek to develop a worship rooted in Scripture, they are more inclined to rely on general principles for guiding worship rather than on literalist models of worship based on Scripture texts alone.
Baptists emerged from a variety of Separatist congregations in seventeenth-century England. While Baptists disagreed theologically on the issue of predestination, they eventually came to share the same form of worship. Like the Congregationalists, Baptists looked to the Bible for their liturgical guidance. At the same time, early Baptists strongly emphasized the leading of the Spirit in worship and avoided a strict structuring of the Sunday service. As the texts below make clear, Baptist liturgical patterns began to solidify on both sides of the Atlantic by the eighteenth century.
Baptists, like the Puritans, desired pure scriptural worship. Early Baptist worship sought to maintain radically biblical worship that the Spirit was free to direct. Later, however, in response to what they considered to be excesses in other movements, Baptists came to place more emphasis on worship according to biblical form and order.f