TRADITION: Go to the altar in front of the church and get right with God
TRUTH: Go to the foot of the Cross anywhere and get right with God
Now, before my Baptist and Bible church brethren write me off without giving me an opportunity to explain myself, let me say right up front that I am not condemning the invitation given in the church to "come forward" (I am a Baptist myself). But, I am simply saying it is traditional in practice and therefore it follows that the truth of the Word of God must take precedent over tradition regardless if it works or is an effective method. The Word of God has the best method for people to get right, and it is available anywhere, anytime, and anyplace!
Hebrews 13:10 tells the believer: "We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle." The altar referred to here is the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. For we too have been crucified with Him, and coming to His Cross recognizing the goodness of God on Calvary will bring us afresh to repentance for our sin, our spiritual coldness, our lack of prayer, our lack of vital communion with the One Who gave Himself for us there on the Cross.
That the writer of Hebrews is referring to the Cross of Christ is obvious as he goes on to describe the place Jesus suffered was 'without the gate' referring to the hill of Golgotha or Calvary which was outside the city of Jerusalem, the camp of the Israelites. The Lord's fulfillment of the Old Testament law was no accident or happenstance. No, the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled all of the law, paying the complete and total price for the sin of all mankind! The Cross upon which our Lord was offered upon the hill of Golgotha is our altar.
Is it therefore, wrong to go to the altar at the front of the church? Yes, if it replaces the spiritual altar of the Cross where we are to continually be offering ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is but our reasonable service or worship to the Lord! Yes, if it is merely a traditional act of piety that just salves the conscience rather than cleansing it with the Blood of Jesus. If so, it is then a tradition that must be replaced with the truth of the Word of God!
But, if the altar in the church emphasizes and includes the spiritual altar which is the precious Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, the altar of the born again the Bible way believer, then it is a tradition which supports the truth and indeed is a vehicle to the truth. Let us then "go forward" for Christ, being cleansed from sin by His Blood and serve Him with a pure heart fervently having the ultimate goal of edifying the saints and winning souls for our Lord Jesus!