Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston, USA, may very well be described as one of the top televangelists in the world. But today, the world seems far from in love with the televangelist following reports that his church did not open its doors to victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Pastor Osteen on Saturday took to Twitter expressing his comfort to victims of the hurricane and saying his wife and himself will put them in prayers.
Victoria & I are praying for everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. Please join us as we pray for the safety of our Texas friends & family.
— Joel Osteen (@JoelOsteen) August 26, 2017
At the time, the Houston area alone has received between 20-40 inches of rainfall alone. The unrelenting rain led to flooding in numerous homes and businesses necessitating people to flee in search of drier grounds. Some were caught up in the floods and needed to be evacuated. It became apparent that the victims needed a place of shelter to wait out the storm.
On Sunday, the Lakewood Church posted a message on Facebook saying the church, which can seat at least 16,000 people, was “inaccessible due to severe flooding.” The church went further to offer suggestions on available alternative shelters around Houston.
The post attracted criticism from social media where some people out rightly accused Lakewood Church of lying about its premises being flooded. People were posting pictures of the church’s premises, and in those pictures, it appears the church was not damaged by the torrential rains afflicting Houston.
— Charles Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) August 28, 2017
He’d rather send prayers than money or resources
— Alan Hollingsworth (@go49ers_az) August 28, 2017
You and Victoria need to helping by opening your church and providing that money that gets donated to you for those in need .🙄
— Monica.dlsm (@Mbabyyyy) August 28, 2017
because prayers don’t cost him anything and are not tax deductible.
— Cathleen Cain (@CathleenVCain) August 28, 2017
He blocked me. Haha. We’re getting to him. pic.twitter.com/azwnRQvGpo
— Isela Sanchez (@iselas25) August 28, 2017
“Thou shall block the people speaking the truth instead of opening the doors to the people” Joel Osteen’s verse
— Richard (@richardhtx) August 28, 2017
Joel Osteen won’t open his church that holds 16,000 to hurricane victims because it only provides shelter from taxes. #HoustonStrong
— Alan Spencer (@MrAlanSpencer) August 28, 2017
Joel Osteen’s megachurch is designed for the rising tithe, not tide.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) August 28, 2017
#JoelOsteen It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a flood victim to enter into Joel Osteen’s church.
— POPEYE (@Popeyejaversa) August 29, 2017
Why are people expecting Joel Osteen
to act like a Christian? The prosperity
gospel doesn’t remotely resemble
anything Christ ever taught
— chimamkpam akinto (@CAkinto) August 29, 2017
On Tuesday, Lakewood Church said it is opening its doors to victims of the hurricane, and denying reports that it had earlier closed:
“We have never closed our doors. We will continue to be a distribution center for those in need,” said the church’s spokesman and Osteen’s father-in-law Donald lloff. “We are prepared to shelter people once the cities and country shelters reach capacity. Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm in helping our fellow citizens rebuild their lives.
lloff said at least a couple of hundred of people can get shelter at the church’s 2nd floor. The church went ahead to provide photo-evidence of its hallways and parking lot being flooded. Following the previous storm, the church installed flood walls.