Is there actually an unbroken lineage of Baptist churches and that can be traced? Must a new church start have the authority of a "mother" church - or can a few Baptists just decide on their own to organize a new Baptist church. If a group splits from a church, and forms their own new church - is that a valid church - esp if they do not have any authority from another church? If there is a church split - and both sides declare they are the true continuation of the original church - who decides which group is - or does it even matter? Are Baptists Protestants? Please explain.