TI blasts Joel Osteen for delayed opening of Houston megachurch

Thursday, 31 Aug, 2017

Pastor Joel Osteen can't seem to get his story straight about why he didn't offer his 16,800-seat megachurch in Houston as a shelter sooner for those displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

When asked why the church's doors couldn't have just opened immediately to welcome those in need, Osteen told TODAY, "We're all about helping people".

"We were fearing that it would flood", Osteen told ABC News. "We are also receiving supplies such as baby food, baby formula and other shelter needs", the church tweeted. The church has been open from the beginning, but it's not designated as a shelter'.

By Monday night, a few hundred people had arrived at Lakewood by bus, Osteen's brother-in-law, Don Iloff, said.

"Usually a hurricane comes by and you get hit with the surge and the rain, but here it's lingered so long there's no doubt that it will be catastrophic", Bullman said, adding that he had just rebuilt previous year after another flood. This building flooded in 2001, the whole bottom floor.

"Social media is powerful these days...so much of it is just people who don't like me or people of faith", he said, but admitting "If you're not in this situation, it's easy to make judgements". I'm telling you, it'll be horrific'. The picture on the left appears to be from Norfolk Street in Houston, which is near the church's parking garage.

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Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed

"The narrative is that we didn't want to take people in, or that we didn't open in time - it's totally not true".

"No excuse for why twitter had to force these peoples hands for them to respond. Love y'all! #CantStandLiars".

Some defended the pastor and his 38,000 member church.

Osteen's views on wealth and his ostentatious style (he lives in a $10.5 million mansion and is estimated to be worth about $40 million) are a pronounced departure from traditional Christian teachings about "the love of money" being the root of all evil, how hard it is for a rich person to live a life worthy of God, and how the materially disadvantaged are regarded more favorably by the divine. It would be an ideal place to shelter people whose homes were destroyed in the storm. In the affected areas, more than 13,000 people have been rescued.

Shortly after this video and many others like it circulated on social media, Osteen opened the doors of his church on Tuesday.

If you're a Houston resident who bought into Osteen's theology, you might be forgiven for feeling a little disgruntled. Your response has been overwhelming.