The reforms in music which attended the reform of worship in the Reformation ranged widely from the rejection of all instruments and the restriction of singing solely to the Psalms to the choral Eucharists of the Anglicans.
From the landing of the Mayflower through the American Revolution, the majority of free-church clergy probably spent more time interacting with worshipers around the Communion table than they did preaching from pulpits. The services that follow reflect Puritan worship as well as the general approach to worship in the separatist congregations—Baptist, Congregational, Independent.
A number of Protestant churches trace their descent from the Puritan heritage. In their worship, these groups share a commitment to a common principle: worship must be ordered according to the Word of God alone. Puritan worship is also characterized by covenant theology and an emphasis on prayer.
The English Government compelled the colonial Government to be more hospitable to persons who did not conform to colonial Congregationalism. In 1691 the original charter of the colony was taken away and a substitute provided. By that time Baptist and Episcopal churches had been founded in Boston.
The most famous document from the Assembly was the Westminster Confession of Faith. It was strictly Calvinistic and as such not only met the needs of English Presbyterians, but it was adopted by the Church of Scotland to take the place of the Scottish creed of 1560. It became the basis of Congregationalist creeds, and it was the model for statements of doctrine by English and American Baptists.
Richard Baxter, a Puritan minister and voluminous author of the seventeenth century, wrote the devotional masterpiece Call to the Unconverted and his Saint’s Everlasting Rest.
Richard Baxter (1615-1691), a Puritan minister and voluminous author of the seventeenth century, wrote the devotional masterpiece Call to the Unconverted and his Saint’s Everlasting Rest.
Because of its congregational polity and the wide diversity in the social status of its membership, Southern Baptist worship today takes place in a wide variety of styles.