While those who reject even “Real Presence” are so wrong on this critical issue that we can call them Christian only on account of their baptism, those who accept a modified version of “Real Presence” while rejecting Transubstantiation are considerably more reasonable.
I intend to demonstrate here however, that their viewpoints are still unreasonable in light of sacred tradition. To ensure we’re all on the same page, Real Presence without Transubstantiation is, in various forms, the belief that Christ’s body is truly made present during the act of receiving the Eucharist and the Christian truly receives Him body, blood, soul & divinity but the bread itself remains bread. Before I get into proof-texts (as Steven at Wedgewords showed in his post on "Bishop" Ridley arguing that the Church fathers rejected Transubstantiation, two can play at that game) I will argue from an ecclesiological stand point.
To accept this patently impotent doctrine (Real Presence without Transubstantiation) we would first need to reject much of what we know on the development of doctrine. Cardinal Newman explained in his essay on the same topic: as the bible should first be interpreted by light of the early Church fathers, the early Church fathers themselves should first be interpreted by the light of the later Church fathers. In other words, sacred tradition is a continuous, uninterrupted phenomenon (of divine origin). Breaking the chain of development in the interest of preserving your personal doctrine or private objection to the teaching of the Church cannot be seen as a valid. While the early Church fathers do not spell out the doctrine of Transubstantiation as clearly as the council of Trent, neither did they spell out an even more critical doctrine, the Trinity, until the council of Nicaea. Rejecting the final refinement of what we now call Transubstantiation is as invalid then, as rejecting the Nicene version of the Trinity. Because it is entirely responsible for such absolutely vital developments in Christian doctrine, sacred tradition must be fully trusted (as divinely guided) if we are to trust the Christian faith at all.
These attempts to reinterpret the Church fathers according to 16th century heresies are perfect examples of wanting to have one’s cake and eat it too (they want to feel connected to the early Church without actually adhering to their doctrine). But believing that Christ is made fully present only in receiving the Eucharist is worse than wanting to have your cake and eat it too; it’s wanting to eat your cake without actually having it.
And now for the proof-texting (which I will keep short). In regards to the quotes from the fathers in the above link, I can say first of all that even if it really were true and the fathers he quotes from didn't believe in Transubstantiation (even if they actually understood it fully and rejected it) it would not discount the doctrine. (The "mere Real Presence" doctrine would have a bit more credibility than it does presently if such were the case but Rome has spoken and the timeless voice of the Church is more authoritative than one's personal interpretation of a given Church father - or even the actual beliefs of an isolated Church father).
That being said, it is clear he (Ridley) reads the fathers very selectively. I suspect that he does the same with the Scriptures like many others of his persuasion. He quotes Chrysostom against Transubstantiation but I didn't see him mention the following quote:
It is not man that causes the things offered to become the Body and Blood of Christ, but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself. The priest, in the role of Christ, pronounces these words, but their power and grace are God’s. This is my body, he says. This word transforms the things offered.He (Steven at Wedgewords) says that Ridley briefly mentions Ambrose. I'm sure it was quite brief since of the early fathers and their understanding of Transubstantiation, Ambrose has among the clearest. I've quoted him here in this post and here again (found in the Catholic catechism directly following Chrysostom's quote above):
Be convinced that this is not what nature has formed, but what the blessing has consecrated. The power of the blessing prevails over that of nature, because by the blessing nature itself is changed. . . . Could not Christ's word, which can make from nothing what did not exist, change existing things into what they were not before? It is no less a feat to give things their original nature than to change their nature.He also did not bring up this argument from Chrysostom:
Let us then in everything believe God, and gainsay Him in nothing, though what is said seem to be contrary to our thoughts and senses, but let His word be of higher authority than both reasonings and sight. Thus let us do in the mysteries also, not looking at the things set before us, but keeping in mind His sayings.As for Tertullian, keeping in mind that he often referred to the Eucharist not as bread or as a symbol of Christ but as "The Body of the Lord", a particularly strong quote of his is of course:
For His word cannot deceive, but our senses are easily beguiled. That has never failed, but this in most things goes wrong. Since then the word says,"This is my body," let us both be persuaded and believe, and look at it with the eyes of the mind.
For Christ has given nothing sensible, but though in things sensible yet all to be perceived by the mind. So also in baptism, the gift is bestowed by a sensible thing, that is, by water; but that which is done is perceived by the mind, the birth, I mean, and the renewal. For if you had been incorporeal, He would have delivered you the incorporeal gifts bare; but because the soul has been locked up in a body, He delivers you the things that the mind perceives, in things sensible.
How many now say, I would wish to see His form, the mark, His clothes, His shoes. Lo! you see Him, Thou touchest Him, you eat Him. And thou indeed desirest to see His clothes, but He gives Himself to you not to see only, but also to touch and eat and receive within you.
Let then no one approach it with indifference, no one faint-hearted, but all with burning hearts, all fervent, all aroused. (Homily on Matthew 82:4)
The Sacrament of the Eucharist, which the Lord commanded to be taken at meal times and by all, we take even before daybreak in congregations... We offer sacrifices for the dead on their birthday anniversaries.... We take anxious care lest something of our Cup or Bread should fall upon the ground.This isn't to say that Tertullian didn't have his fair share of errors...and his contemporary Origen (not a complete stranger to theological error himself) did similarly say:
You are accustomed to take part in the divine mysteries, so you know how, when you have received The Body of the Lord, you reverently exercise every care lest a particle of it fall, and lest anything of the consecrated gift perish....how is it that you think neglecting the word of God a lesser crime than neglecting His Body? (Homilies on Exodus 13:3)So it makes me wonder what kind of scholarly dishonesty could overlook such things. I am by no means pulling out a great litany of proof texts on this subject. If you want one, here is a good list of Church father quotes on the Eucharist. On the other hand, I think Mr. Ridley's list of anti-transubstantiation is nearly exhaustive. There is just barely anything that one could twist or misread enough to think the fathers rejected this doctrine.
On a similar note, Dr. Francis Nigel Lee argues in this piece entitled "Two Hundred Theses Against Transubstantiation" that:
2. Some of the stranger attempts of Rome to defend this view (first doctrinally determined at the Fourth Lateran Council of A.D. 1215f), include appeals to Exodus 7:9-12 and various Johannine pronouncements that Christ has come "in the flesh." In the first passage, however -- where God predicts the staff of Moses would turn into a serpent -- Rome forgets that, after it occurred, this staff had lost its 'accidents' and really looked like a serpent – and that it gobbled up the de-staffed serpents of the sorcerers. But after consecration, the Romish Mass still looks like bread and wine!Now, wait a minute. Did the fathers teach this doctrine and defend it or didn't they? Because what Dr. Lee sees as "Rome" defending a heretical doctrine by poor reasoning was first brought up by St. Ambrose (see the link above) defending this doctrine in the 4th century. You may read his piece and see how far one is willing to stretch historical credibility to deny a basic Christian dogma, but I would sooner recommend Dave Armstrong's discussion on the same subject (specifically on Calvin's Eucharistic theology versus St. Cyril of Jerusalem's).