We continue our response to Saifullah and Azmy by noting their listing of various ecclesiastical traditions (Protestant, Roman Catholic, and then much smaller ones, such as Coptic, Armenian, etc.) and their statement “They all contain a different number of books. Again the scriptures are demonstrably not the same today as in Muhammad’s time.” Notice the massive (and unwarranted) leap between “the canon process wasn’t decided by military force in the Christian tradition” (and hence there were disputed books, thankfully—can you imagine if everything written by anyone in any place was just automatically included in the canon? You’d have a mess like…that found in The Da Vinci Code!) and “the Christian Scriptures were not the same as in Muhammad’s time.” See, for S&A to make that point, they would have to demonstrate that, say, John 14-16, and its references to the Holy Spirit (which many Muslims try to connect to Muhammad instead), did not pre-exist Muhammad’s time in the form in which we now possess them. They will seek to do this very thing later by applying utterly unreasonable standards to the field of textual criticism, but once again we are very much unimpressed with the rather obvious fact that the conclusions of S&A’s “inquiry” were obviously determined right at the start, and the pretense of presenting factual evidence in support is just that: a pretense. The factual evidence utilized is not going to be used fairly, that’s for certain.
Evidently I am not the first to recognize the problem with S&A’s understanding of the history of Scripture, as they cite a Christian writer responding very much along the same lines. S&A simply refuse to get the point, as they insist that if there is any question about the canon of Scripture (once again simply pointing out the difference between canon-by-force and canon-by-spiritual leadership of God’s people over time) then the content of the various books of the Bible that pre-existed Muhammad’s time must be different as well. Any reader can see their error, of course. They insist upon an inspired canon, and once again the reader would find the discussion of the canon in Scripture Alone to be most helpful at this point.