I'm sure this has been covered before on this board. I've not quite been here a year, and I know I've seen several discussions within the context -- or occasionally not so much within the context -- of others threads, and there seems to be a wide variety of opinion and most definitely disagreement as to the answer to that question. It came up again today on a thread in Baptist Theology and Bible Studies, so I thought I'd open up a thread where it can actually be discussed -- again and perhaps ad infinitum. Most Baptists I've known in the nearly 21 years I've been a Christian, saved in a Baptist church, are very particular about which terms they use to apply to themselves. That includes me. I don't particularly mind being called an "evangelical" as long as the one using that terminology doesn't think that applies to me on the basis of the Charismatic movement. I despise the term "ecumenical" for obvious reasons. I do not wish, nor do I wish my church, to be lumped in with the heretical liberalism that dominates that movement. I've often heard the debate over whether or not we're Protestant or not, and here's my view. Feel free to share yours, but please support it with facts and links, as I have below. First, what is a Protestant? Obviously, the Protestant movement began during the time of the Reformation in the 1500's. The defining moment may be considered Luther's nailing his 95 Theses to door of the cathedral at Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. As the name of the movement implies, these groups -- and there were more than one, Luther being simply the most famous 400 years later -- "protested" certain doctrines and practices in the Catholic church. Among the things they protested were the sale of Indulgences, salvation by works, and papal authority. The initial concept was to reform the Catholic church, not separate from it. Denominations that can truly be called Protestant would have to include the Lutherans, quite obviously named for Martin Luther, who was their leader and director, for all practical purposes. Then there were the Episcopalians, who began when Henry VIII started the Church of England after not having a divorce granted by the Pope. It would be unfair, however, to say that was the Church of England's only problem with Catholic teaching, and had Henry not made the declaration to separate, it would have happened eventually anyway. These groups are truly Protestant in that they protested the Catholics and would go on to start their own denominations. Now with these fact in mind, let us address the question at hand: Are Baptists Protestant? Baptists dating back to before Luther have a long heritage of disagreement with the Catholic church. It can be demonstrated that the first Baptists may have grown out of the Novatain church movement of the mid-third century, though I admit there isn't a direct genealogical line that can be unequivocally drawn from the Novatains to the Baptists. Nonetheless, as ecclesiastical hierarchies began to form and submit to the leadership of the Church at Rome, there were groups who remained independent. They spoke against such errors that had entered into that growing organization such as baptismal regeneration. It is from these groups which have always been separate from Roman Catholicism that are forefathers to the modern Baptist movement. There are these facts to consider regarding similarities in the teachings of the Novatains, and the Baptist church when first identified specifically "Baptist" in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The Novatain movement, as a distinct line of protest commenced in the year 251 AD. The Novatain churches derived their separate, distinct denominational name from a member of the church at Rome in the third century AD, that church having been organized during the life time of the Apostle Paul. It is these churches that can be specifically identified as those who disagreed with and remained separate from Rome. In relation to their doctrine, the Novatain churches were far more Baptistic than Protestant, requiring baptism by immersion as the outward sign of conversion, therefore being distinct in requiring a statement of faith before offering baptism. In an early reflection of today's automous churches, the Novatain churches agreed in asserting the power, rights and privileges of the local church over any presbytery or overarching authoritative bishopric. This is distinctly a Baptist trait, even today. It is not commonly known to be a Protestant characteristic. Although Baptists have disagreed with Rome, they have never been a part of the Catholic church as were other Protestants, and as is shown here, much of the teachings of the Baptists to the traceable dates in the 15th and 16th centuries were evident long before Luther and others felt compelled to first reform, then depart the Catholic Church. Nowhere in their history can Baptists be found to be part of or in alliance with Rome. They have always been independent. It has been said truthfully that if you take all the Baptist doctrine out of Protestant churches than you will only have Catholic doctrine left. Therefore, let me say that I personally feel that the term "Protestant" should not be used to describe Baptists. We have never been in accord with the Pope or Rome. Our lineage can be followed back before the Roman Catholics began. Now, if you wish to throw away the true and historic meaning of "Protestant" and say that is simply means "non-Catholic", than I suppose I might be one. However, this is honestly a tremendous stretch and a complete revision of the world. I say that we have "Baptists" and "non-Baptists", thus keeping the positive focus on true Christianity.