It takes a crisis point in time, I believe, to bring one to this pointIndeed, and if justification is to be by faith, we must be sure when presenting the gospel to not "manufacture" such a crisis. Be it through the techniques of "Way of the Master" or whoever else. Indeed, if the gospel is all sufficient (as Paul Washer most wonderfully noted), then we must simply let the preached word do the work God said it would do, and have faith that it will. The gospel when presented properly (and I don't mean by a simple matter of technique), will make it's own crisis sure enough. In recent years, this realization has caused me to almost entirely abandon having an "altar call" at the end of my preaching. With sensitivity from the Spirit, I may from time to time call for people to come forward and receive prayer if they want it. But, I am much more content to just proclaim the word and let God do any work. Recently I was doing some open air preaching at a local university. There seemed to be one or two people who were intently listening to what I said. Noticing them I started talking to them after I was done preaching. They surely had visible signs of conviction on their face. I suppose I could have led them in a "sinners prayer" right there. Indeed, there seemed to be a contriteness to them. But you know what I did? Instead of leading them in the sinners prayer, I simply gave them further promises from the gospel, and let God deal with them from there. I pray to God they went back to their dorm rooms miserable about their sins and with a revelation from God Himself about His ability to save. I know that is ultimately what pushed me over the edge when I first came to the Lord. It was only then that I "called upon the name of the Lord" and was saved. Such was several years in the making, but such was the work the Lord has done in me :-)
we must be sure when presenting the gospel to not "manufacture" such a crisis
Yeah, it's sad. I think there is a time and place for an "altar call." But that's moreso for the chance to minister one-on-one with people and whatever may lay on their hearts. In my personal experience though, most people that come to altar calls are not even responding to anything mentioned in the message, which I find an interesting phenomenon.