This evening I was reading John Wesley's Plain Account of the Methodists in Volume 9 of The Works of John Wesley. He was writing about those who complained about the "bands" of people who gathered together, confessed their sins to each other, and prayed and encouraged each other in their spiritual growth. - THIS WAS A GREAT PARAGRAPH! - I have a feeling that several people who read this blog will be able to relate to this paragraph:
"An objection much more boldly and frequently urged, is that 'all these bands are mere popery'. I hope I need not pass a harder censure on those (most of them at least) who affirm this, than that they talk of they know not what, that they betray in themselves the most gross and shameful ignorance. Do not they yet know that the only popish confession is the confession made by a single person to a priest? (And this itself is in no wise condemned by our Church; nay, she recommends it in some cases.) Whereas that we practice is the confession of several persons conjointly, not to a priest, but to each other. Consequently, it has no analogy at all to popish confession. But the truth is, this is a stale objection, which many people make against anything they do not like. It is all popery out of hand."
When I read that, I said to myself, "Ain't it the truth! Things never change! 'That's Roman Catholic!'"
Of course, John Wesley was accused, on the one hand, of being an enthusiast (i.e., a fanatic), and, on the other hand, he was accused of being a Roman Catholic Jesuit. - Neither accusation were correct, but it is nice to know that I'm in good company!