UPDATE: The Lakewood Church posted on their Facebook page on Sunday that they were closed and inaccessible due to flooding. In the wake of the controversy, the church provided an explanation for their decision, which you can read more about here.
Megachurch Televangelist Joel Osteen became a trending topic on the social media platform Twitter Monday after it was discovered that he closed the doors to his church in Houston amidst the tremendous tragedy from Hurricane Harvey.
The response was less than positive.
Joel Osteen wont open his church for #HurricaneHarvey victims. Instead, he uses their tithes to pay for his mansion," read one tweet that went viral.
The hurricane has displaced thousands and caused billions of dollars of damage already, but is expected to cause much more as it slowly makes its way through Texas. Many residents were stranded in their homes, some forced onto the rooftops as the rains continued and the water kept rising.
While Osteen is under no legal obligation to open the doors of his church to the public, many thought it was a hypocritical for a Christian leader to keep his property safe while so many were suffering right outside its doors.
Some latched on to a tweet of encouragement he sent on Sunday which read, "Jesus promises us peace that passes understanding. That’s peace when it doesn’t make sense."
Some conservative Christians took the opportunity to point out that Osteen preached a theology of "prosperity gospel" that is rejected by many as unorthodox teaching.
By afternoon Monday, "Joel Osteen" was the number one trending topic on Twitter.
Later Monday Osteen put out a statement saying they were coordinating with Billy Graham Jr.'s charity "Samaritan's Purse," to help those afflicted by the storm.