Preaching that organized religion is a sham and people must get to know Jesus personally, a U.S. family drew a crowd of at least 50 people Tuesday afternoon on San José’s Avenida Central.
The Warneckis are “just a simple family” who are spreading the message that salvation cannot be found in a church, according to literature they handed out to eager passersby.
They believe reading the Bible and a “living Jesus” are the keys to being saved, explained Joshua Warnecki, 18, the youngest of six siblings who have been traveling around the world evangelizing with their parents since they were young and are now making their way through Central America.
Ruth, 25, hoisted a long banner reading, “You’re going to go to hell. Look to Jesus, not the church,” in Spanish and translated her father’s words into Spanish while he spoke.
“I beg you to think and not just follow.
Ask Jesus, ‘Who are you?’ and you’ll find the greatest thing in your life,” he said. Most observers in the crowd The Tico Times spoke with said they liked what they heard.
“It’s a good message. There’s only one God that exists for me,” said Freddy Hernández, 32. As a Catholic, he was not offended by Warnecki’s statement against churches since the evangelizer still exalted God.
“It’s good that people hear this message and know that God exists. This is something new here that you don’t see a lot,” said Juan David Arroyo, 38, a non-denominational Christian.
Mauricio Blanco, 40, disagreed, saying he found the family’s statement “too radical” and “threatening” to people like him who don’t believe in Jesus.
The Warneckis plan to travel around Central America and onto South America for “as long as the Lord allows,” Joshua said.