Muslims accepting unquestioningly the "nazil" concept of revelation, look at the way the Bible and particularly the New Testament were given and conclude: "This cannot be revelation."
They look at the number of writers, and the fact that their writings were circulated among churches, collected together and then considered by the various Church Councils which decided which were Scripture and which not.
In the chapter "Revelation" (pp. 10ff.), we became aware that the Apostles had an intimate knowledge of Christ, His sayings, actions, way of life and character. They had been ordained by Christ to proclaim the good news of free salvation to all, commanding them to put their trust in the finished work of Christ. It were these, as well as two or three other men who were prompted by the Holy Spirit to write down independently the accounts that, collected together, make up the New Testament.
After these writings were collected, many more, some under the names of the Apostles so as to appear more trustworthy, come into circulation, containing marks of well-meaning, but legendary stories. These writers intended to glorify Jesus by attributing actions and sayings to Him, which they thought possible or which was amplified hear-say. it was the task of the early Church to discern between Scripture and legend. Fortunately, even from today's viewpoint, it was not at all difficult to discern between the two. A person, well-read in the Bible, who reads the Apocrypha (the collection of all these writings), will immediately detect the difference in character between these writings and the New Testament.
The Church, when confronted with any writings claiming to be Apostolic, always compared them with the original, trusted and accepted Apostolic witness. Whenever a teaching or historical narrative had to be tested, the Christians tested it against the Apostolic accounts, which were eyewitness accounts based on intimate knowledge and backed by the prophets. So we can, with the greatest degree of confidence claim that the New Testament was not just accepted by a group of bishops at a certain church council at random. The selection was not only universal and unanimous; it was actually a decision, which had already been made earlier by all the local churches over the years independently and at their own discretion. The only worry that we might have, is that too little of the material was accepted as Canon of the New Testament, rather than too much. We are in the fortunate position of being in possession of probably all the documents of old, including those that were rejected by the early Church. This excludes much later writings claiming to be Apostolic (See below: "The Gospel of Barnabas")
We are even now in the position to approve or disapprove of their decision. Believers and scholars of all ages have disagreed very little in this regard. In addition to this a subjective, but very weighty proof must be mentioned. He who builds his life on and trusts the Bible will find out that it works! In John 7:17 Jesus Himself offers us this test. A transformed life is the result.
Many Muslims seem to be of the opinion that a Book from God must be given as such from heaven. The Qur'an is said to be such. We recommend to the open-minded and honest reader a look into the chapter "The Collection and Compiling of the Qur'an" in the book "Christians ask Muslims sincere Questions" (available from the address at the end of this book).
Next Chapter: The Gospel of Barnabas
Christians Answer Muslims: Table of Contents
Answering Islam Home Page