While I do not always agree with Jaroslav Pelikan, he is without doubt the doyen of 20th century church historians. Here is his reflection on the fallout of the Montanist controversy. Pelikan is noting that as a result of the controversy, the church rightly judged Montanism to be obsolete for she "looked increasingly not to the future, illumined by the Lord's return, nor to the present, illumined by the Spirit's extraordinary gifts, but to the past, illumined by the composition of the apostolic canon, the creation of the apostolic creed, and the establishment of the apostolic episcopate." [The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600) (The Christian Tradition, vol. 1; Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 1971), 107].
Very true as an historical reality--its biblical validity is another question. And here I am thinking of the episcopate. The New Testament clearly supports both the looking to canon and creed. But does it support the idea of the historic episcopate?