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Whilst Ramsey took Robinson to task for his views, Ramsey's pamphlet "Image Old and New" rushed out as a response, did not entirely dismiss what had been said.The book, which has remained almost consistently in print, proposes abandoning the notion of God "out there", existing somewhere as a "cosmic supremo", just as we have abandoned already the idea of God "up there", the notion of "the old man up in the sky".Robinson seemed to rapidly become a person upon whom religious people projected their own ideas of what he was like, and the book The Honest to God Debate, edited by Robinson and by David L Edwards, also published in 1963, contains a mixture of articles which either praise Robinson for his approach or accuse him of atheism.Although Robinson was considered a liberal theologian, he challenged the work of like-minded colleagues in the field of exegetical criticism.
However, the work of Robinson in Honest to God provided a departure point which would be followed up in the writings of the radical theologians Don Cupitt and John Shelby Spong and in the 1977 symposium The Myth of God Incarnate, edited by John Hick.He also wanted to prove that John is independent of the Synoptics and better than them at describing the length and time period of Jesus' ministry, Palestinian geography, and the cultural milieu of the early first century there. Robinson was also noted for his 1960 court testimony against the censorship of Lady Chatterley's Lover, claiming that it was a book which "every Christian should read." Robinson's legacy includes the work of a now retired Episcopal bishop, John Shelby Spong, in best-selling books that include salutes by Spong to Robinson as a lifelong mentor. In a 2013 interview, Spong recalls reading Robinson's 1963 book: "I can remember reading his first book as if was yesterday. Robinson was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1983 states: "Robinson notes that Christ, in Origen's old words, remains on the Cross so long as one sinner remains in [H]ell.This is not speculation: it is a statement grounded in the very necessity of God's nature." George Hunsinger, author of Disruptive Grace: Studies in the Theology of Karl Barth writes that "[i]f one is looking for an uninhibited proponent of universal salvation, Robinson leaves nothing to be desired." In this book, an analysis of the early history of the doctrine of the parousia, Robinson states: "That the heart of the Christian hope was now, once more to 'wait for God's son from heaven', for a second and final coming which would complete and crown the first, is a belief for which we have found no firm foundation in the words of Jesus himself." Robinson further argued that there was a tendency in the early church to alter the meaning of sayings of Jesus that originally referred to his death and ascension into heaven, to refer to an event in the future that had not yet happened.
In a letter to Robinson, the New Testament scholar C. Dodd wrote, "I should agree with you that much of the late dating is quite arbitrary, even wanton[;] the offspring not of any argument that can be presented, but rather of the critic's prejudice that, if he appears to assent to the traditional position of the early church, he will be thought no better than a stick-in-the-mud." Robinson's call for redating the New Testament – or, at least, the four gospels – was echoed in subsequent scholarship such as John Wenham's work Redating Matthew, Mark and Luke: A Fresh Assault on the Synoptic Problem and work by Claude Tresmontant, Günther Zuntz, Carsten Peter Thiede, Eta Linnemann, Harold Riley, Jean Carmignac, and Bernard Orchard.