Joel Osteen sparked huge backlash online for allegedly closing his megachurch from Hurricane Harvey victims on Tuesday. Although his massive Lakewood Church is now open to accept evacuees, the Senior Pastor is still bombarded with criticisms for seemingly turning his back from those who are in dire need.

Pastor defends shutdown of megachurch in the wake of Hurricane Harvey flooding

In his CNN interview, the 54-year-old church leader explained that they have been housing flood victims since they were informed that the local convention center has reached its limit.

Joel Osteen said he did not know where this "false narrative, claiming that they were not bringing in evacuees, came from.

"There was a time that the place was flooded," he told the network. "There was a safety issue the first day or two. We would never put people in here until we know that it's safe, and it was not safe those days, let me tell you."

He insisted that his Lakewood Church "has always been open" to those who are in need of shelter. But despite his explanation, people on the internet could not help but feel disappointed after Joel Osteen shut down his megachurch in the wake of Hurricane Harvey flooding.

The evangelist was even more criticized when he justified that they were just waiting for the city officials to ask for their help in accommodating flood evacuees.

"(The city) didn’t need us as shelter then. If we needed to be a shelter, we certainly would’ve been a shelter right when they first asked," he said.

He even blamed social media for creating a "false narrative" out of the situation. The church leader also emphasized that they did not have volunteers and staff present at his Lakewood Church when people started knocking at his church doors.

"If they would've asked us to be a shelter early on, we would've prepared for it all," he added.

The internet reacts to Osteen's explanation on church closure

His statements only added fuel to the fire as many people see these as a lame excuse for someone who preaches about compassion. Many people from the internet accused Joel Osteen of being fake, while others hit him with personal attacks.

In the wake of internet backlash, Joel Osteen announced that they have reached the maximum capacity for volunteers and thanked these people for their overwhelming response since he opened his Houston church to flood victims. The Senior Pastor was even photographed interacting with evacuees inside his 16,000-seat megachurch.