Joel Osteen denies closing church doors to hurricane victims

Joel Osteen denies closing church doors to hurricane victims

UPDATE: Lakewood Church is opening its doors to let in those seeking shelter from the flooding resulting from Hurricane Harvey.

Osteen's megachurch can seat around 17,000 people - three times the capacity of George R. Brown Convention Center, where more than 9,000 people stayed the night (the convention center's official capacity is 5,000).

Lakewood Church is now welcoming evacuees who have had to leave their homes due to Hurrican Harvey.

The initial post said the church was inaccessible due to severe flooding, ABC said.

One person pointedly walked up to the doors of the church on Monday. Photos posted on social media later suggested the church had not been damaged. But once they filled up, never dreaming we'd have this many displaced people, they asked us to be a shelter. "Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm in helping our fellow citizens to rebuild our lives".

"We would be hesitant to put anybody on the first floor as long as there's rain coming".

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He will be 34 in December, so giving him a five-year extension would keep him under contract through his 41st birthday. ESPN reported the contract included a signing bonus of $50 million and $92 million in guaranteed payments beyond that.

But some responded sceptically to the Facebook post, questioning why one of the largest churches in the United States - including a 16,000-seat arena - was not able to take in victims of Harvey.

Early Tuesday morning, Osteen said his church would "continue to be a distribution center for those in need".

However, Olsteen shared images with NBC News that appeared to show standing water in the church's basement and parking garage. Photos of the flooded church were also posted by members of the church on Twitter.

Osteen, 54, inherited Lakewood Church from his father John Osteen, who founded it in 1959.

But criticism against the church persisted, with one commenter saying on Facebook, "If you guys at Lakewood cared half as much about your own people as you do your Sunday offerings, you'd definitely have those doors open".

The church is expected to open its doors on Tuesday by noon to collect donations, the paper reported. "I think some somehow social media can be very powerful and they can create this false narrative". Four people have died.

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