They fixed these poor contents in new books and in the idea of a prophetic succession, which of course is self-contradictory because succession is an organizational principle and prophecy is an anti-organizational principle, and the attempt to bring them together was unsuccessful and always will be unsuccessful.
Now the Christian Church excluded Montanism; it conquered it. But such victories are always losses. Let’s see the four ways in which this loss is visible: 1) The canon was victorious against the possibility of new revelations. – The solution of the Fourth Gospel that there are new insights, which of course are under the criticism of the Christ, was at least reduced in meaning and power.
2) The traditional hierarchy was confirmed against the prophetic spirit. – This was a very serious thing because since that time the prophetic spirit was more or less excluded from the Church and always had to f lee in sectarian movements. Most of the so-called sectarian movements, ever since the defeat of Montanism; are movements into which the prophetic spirit f led because it couldn’t find a place in the Church.
3) Eschatology became less interesting than it was in the Apostolic age. – Establishment was much more important, and the expectation of the end was reduced to an appeal to every individual that his end can come at any moment – which is how you usually handle it in your preaching. But the idea of an end of history was not important any more since that time.
4) The disciplinary strictness of the Montanists was lost, and a growing laxity took place in the Church. – Here again something happened which has happened all through Church history again and again, that new, small groups with disciplinary strictness arose, were regarded with great suspicion by the church, and developed themselves into larger churches only to lose the disciplinary power in themselves.
So you can say the result of the Montanist struggles was that traditional theology and above all its safeguards, were victorious against any danger, and that the conservative establishment of the Church was victorious against any eschatological radicalism and expectation. These two consequences are there, and now we must ask: What was taught in the framework of these very strict safeguards given by the anti-Gnostic Fathers of the early Catholic church? There is first one point which is obvious if you think of it as I said in connection with the Gnostics, namely the contrast between the father-God and the savior-God.
One called the Gnostic theory blasphemia creatoris, the blasphemy of the creator- God. Now such blasphemy of the creator-God is something which should be kept in mind by all neo-orthodox theologians of today. There is much Gnostic Marcionism in them, much dualistic blasphemy of the creator-God. They put the savior-God so much over the creator-God that, although they never fall into a real heresy about it, they implicitly blaspheme the Divine creation by identifying it actually with the sinful state of reality.. Against all this – of today and of the past – people like Irenaeus said that God is one, and there is no duality in Him; law and Gospel, creation and salvation, are derived from the same God.