Joel Osteen Responds to Criticism Over Church's Response to Harvey

Is Joel Osteen's Megachurch Too Flooded to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims?

Rap superstar and activist T.I. went volcanic on megachurch pastor Joel Osteen, who dragged his feet about sheltering victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Joel Osteen has a megachurch in Houston that can hold 16,000 people - but he's only just opened it up to Hurricane Harvey victims.

Lynne Gabriel, a life and style blogger from Houston, criticized those who have "spread negative news without knowing the situation", tweeting photos showing certain flooded areas inside Lakewood Church.

Lakewood Church, which was founded by Osteen's father in the 1950s, said on Saturday (27 August) that it was "inaccessible due to severe flooding" and urged displaced residents to seek shelter elsewhere on Facebook.

Later Osteen explained that Lakewood "never" closed its doors, rather, they were simply waiting for the "shelters [to] reach capacity" before welcoming evacuees. "Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm".

By Monday night, Twitter user Charles Clymer claimed victory over the issue. But this notion that we would turn people away or that we're not here for the city - we've been here for 60 years doing this'. The church said it doesn't have showers or a kitchen, according to ABC.

In response, Osteen insisted in a statement Monday evening that he and his church are "prepared to house people once shelters reach capacity".

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The televangelist says the church faced flooding in 2001 and was only saved by the floodgates.

The church can accommodate several hundred people on its second floor, spokesman Don Iloff told CNN.

There was also no such statement on the church's social media accounts, which are all still offering up only prayers and the promise of goods like diapers and infant formula.

However, people took to social media to criticise the church and shared pictures instead of the area surrounding the church with streets that were accessible.

Four people have already died as a result of the catastrophic storm.

So did Osteen really shut the doors to his church-which is the former home of the Houston Rockets, by the way-in his flock's most dire time of need?

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