Another reason to study the church fathers might be to use them as ammunition in a debate. I have already criticized this misuse of the fathers. While I do think it’s a superb idea to consult the historic view of the Christian church on a given matter, debates cannot be won simply by claiming “I have more church father quotes on my side than you do.”
My two cents
The last part in that quote has stuck with me for a long time. I don’t know of anyone who’s used that line in real life, but it would be interesting and entertaining if it has been (perhaps it’s happened at Bible colleges or seminaries). I should re-read this whole book sometime, especially so I don’t fall into the trap of reducing the Church Fathers to doctrinaires.
Litfin, B. M. (2007) Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction. Brazos Press, Grand Rapids, p. 28.