Limitations of an "experience model"

Jerome Ellard shares the following quote from JB Torrance's book "Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace." Torrance contrasts what he terms the "experience model" of Christianity with a model that emphasizes our participation in Jesus' life for us with the Father through the Spirit.

To illustrate the limitations of the experience model, Torrance addresses the "point of salvation." The experience model locates this point at the moment of a "personal decision" for Jesus, when there is typically a profound personal experience of conversion to Christ.

Torrance comments on the limitations of seeing salvation principally from the persective of personal experience (the "experience model")-and note that what is shown in brackets are my clarifying additions to the words of Torrance.

"I was asked by a student, 'What is wrong with that [experience] model? That is me! I was converted two years ago and gave my life to Christ.' I [Torrance] replied that, as I saw it, there was nothing wrong in it as a description of genuine evangelical experience. From New Testament times onward, whenever the cross of Christ has been faithfully preached by Paul, John Stott or Billy Graham, people have come to faith and conversion. But do not build your theology on it!

"For example, what happens to our understanding of the Lord's Supper in that [experience] model? It reduces it to being merely a memorial of the death of Christ. Luther, Calvin and Knox all vigorously rejected such an interpretation.

"[As another example], baptism [is reduced to] outward sign of my faith, my conversion, my dying and rising (my subjective sanctification). But it is not my faith or my decision and conversion, my dying and rising which washes away my sins. It is Christ's vicarious baptism for us in blood on the cross, his death which we, by grace, participate through water and the Spirit.

"[As another example], the church [is reduced to]...the gathering of true believers with a common experience and less than a royal priesthood sharing in Christ's priesthood."

Torrance continues with another anecdote:

"After one of my lectures in Seattle, an American Pentecostal minister, reflecting on the weakness of this model, said to me that for ten years he had been "whipping up" himself and his congregation to live out of their experience. He said: 'I am weary and tired and have come to see that the center is all wrong. We feed upon Christ, the Bread of Life, not our own subjective experience.'...More important than our experience of Christ is the Christ of our experience."

Torrance notes further the weakness of the experience model:

"[It] emphasizes our faith, our decision, our response in an event...which short-circuits the vicarious humanity of Christ and belittles union with Christ...It fails to see the place of the high priesthood of Jesus Christ... It is he who leads our worship, bears our sorrows on his heart and intercedes for us, presenting us to the Father in himself as God's dear children, and uniting us with himself in his life in the Spirit.

"To reduce worship to this two-dimensional thing - God and ourselves today, is to imply that God throws us back upon ourselves to make our response. It ignores the fact that God has already provided for us that response which alone is acceptable to him - the offering made for the whole human race in the life, obedience and passion of Jesus Christ.... Whatever else our faith is, it is a response to a response already made for us and continually being made for us in Christ, the pioneer of our faith."

What are your thoughts on the experience model? Is personal experience of no value? What do we look to in order to interpret personal experience?