A few days ago, the internet was furious with Televangelist Joel Osteen for not opening the doors of his 16,800-seat Lakewood Church to thousands of Houston residents affected by Hurricane Harvey. The victims were looking for shelter. The critics were not happy with his Twitter post that reminded people of Jesus’ teaching about peace. Many started questioning why his church was inaccessible in time of need.

Osteen defends himself

Joel Osteen responded to allegations of his church not welcoming the people affected by Hurricane Harvey. He opened up about the controversy when he appeared on the Today Show on Wednesday.

He said that his church doors have always been open and they actually started taking people in after the water had begun to recede. Osteen also told Savannah Guthrie that they were working closely with the city. It had established its biggest shelter with room for thousands of people four miles down the road with beds, kitchen supplies, security and everything else they needed. He also made it clear that they didn’t need a shelter then, and that they coordinate with him all the time.

Osteen also fought back his critics on social media. Social media can be a powerful tool that creates a false narrative, especially by users who are in other states to start with, he said. Even his niece was stranded on the other side of the street, he said.

He explained that his church was flooded but they opened the floodgates. He added that his church had not been asked by the city to open. He promised to help people even after the hurricane is over.

Critics say Osteen was not doing what he was required to do

According to the New York Post, Charles Clymer, a writer from Washington DC, had tweeted photos of Lakewood Church which showed it was not damaged by the floods.

Entertainment publicist, Danny Deraney claimed that the televangelist had taken so much money away from his congregation to live a lavish life and helping the people at the time was the least he could do. Emily Timbol, a Florida-based writer, joined the talk and said it didn’t make sense why Osteen was not opening his megachurch to shelter Houston citizens.

On Tuesday, a Lakewood Church spokesperson told ABC News that the church has always been open. Even though it has no showers and kitchen, they were planning to obtain beds and other materials to help people.

Thousands of rescues have been carried out, and thousands of homes are without power in the southeast parts of Texas.