Pastor Joel Osteen's Bashed Over Flooded Church Controversy Amid Harvey Terror

Pastor Joel Osteen's Bashed Over Flooded Church Controversy Amid Harvey Terror

Pastor Joel Osteen's Bashed Over Flooded Church Controversy Amid Harvey Terror

Osteen had faced intense backlash after tweeting prayers for Harvey victims while Lakewood Church - the former home of the NBA's Houston Rockets that seats 16,000 people - remained empty for days.

Osteen - who shot to fame and fortune as the popular televangelist at Lakewood following his father's death in 1999 - and his wife, Victoria, had lost power but were safe.

Also, Lakewood Church wrote, "Lakewood is receiving people who need shelter".

"Lakewood Church is inaccessible due to severe flooding!" read a post on the Church's website Sunday evening.

However, Osteen insisted in a statement to ABC News that he was not closing the doors to those in need, but was waiting until "shelters reach capacity" to welcome evacuees.

Evangelist Joel Osteen is denying he closed his Houston megachurch even as thousands were seeking shelter from the onslaught of Hurricane Harvey.

That led to a flood of criticism on social media that the church was, in effect, turning people away when they were most in need. The church relocated to the current arena, formerly known as the Compaq Center, in 2005.

To join with Lakewood Church and Samaritan's Purse in helping our community recover, please visit the link in our bio.

However, some came to the pastor's defense, sharing Twitter photos that appeared to show the church's flooded basement.

"Shame on Joel Osteen", one person tweeted. Tweets were posted blasting the church's decision not to open its doors.

Osteen and his staff were criticized in social media for not opening the Lakewood doors sooner.

The Houston Lakewood Church has a capacity of nearly 17,000 but it has not been open to evacuees since the storm hit.

Twitter users were quick to claim out that the images were of the underground carpark, and that the rest of the building is elevated.

The church has since said it is mobilizing volunteers at city shelters and serving as a collection site for supplies, including baby formula and food. Additionally, by some estimations, more than 2,000 people in the Houston area have had to been rescued in the aftermath, and it's believed that another 30,000 are expected to leave their homes for public shelters in the wake of the storm.

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