Mission

Hurricane Harvey and the $50m mega-church pastor who wouldn’t shelter flood victims

Texan mega-church pastor Joel Osteen is reputedly worth $50million. That’s his personal wealth. He leads a church of some 16,000 (ie a ‘mega-church’) which gathers in the Lakewood Church, Houston, which is rather large and spacious, not to say positively cavernous, with the ambience of a close encounter of the Spielbergian kind:

Pastor Osteen has come in for a bit of criticism (actually, quitealotofcriticism) over the past week for failing to open his mega-church doors to the victims of Hurricane Harvey – you know, the homeless, destitute, hungry, soaked-to-the-skin and generally traumatised people of Houston, Texas. “How you respond to a situation will influence those around you,” he helpfully tweeted. “When you have peace on the inside, you’ll bring peace to the outside.”

That’s nice to know.

Especially if you’re homeless, destitute, hungry, soaked-to-the-skin and generally traumatised.

“God uses people to push you to where you’re supposed to be. Without them, you couldn’t fulfill your destiny,” he continued reassuringly, adding: “Victoria & I are praying for everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. Please join us as we pray for the safety of our Texas friends & family.”

Understandably, some were a bit peeved (just a bit) by Pastor Osteen’s response:

That’s a minuscule sample of the printable criticism: there’s an awful lot more which is rather more ‘robust’ in its condemnation. For balance and fairness, he has his supporters, too, as the featured tweet illustrates: “I support Pastor Osteen’s decision to NOT open his church. It’s a house of worship NOT a shelter,” tweeted James “Deliriously in love with my stunning wife Carla. Father of two wonderful sons Harlan and Jordan. Lifetime NRA Member. Conservative. Veteran. Capitalist. American” Ritchie.

You might guess how the ‘conversation’ developed: it was basically callous, rich Christians (who also happened to be Trump supporters) versus the compassionate children of the world (who happen to yearn for the days of Obama): “Just another example of Christianity corrupted by capitalism and greed. Not his flock. Himself, Joel ‘money lenders in the temple’ Osteen,” tweeted Stewwie – Good Choko. And more, much more:

And here we come to the kernel. For although it is now reported that Joel Osteen has indeed opened his mega-church doors to the homeless, destitute, hungry, soaked-to-the-skin and generally traumatised people of Houston, and strewn its gleaming marble corridors with blue blow-up mattresses, and now seems to have an army of volunteers distributing food and clothes and other basic necessities, we are left with a sense that the Pastor of Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas, prefers the smell of freshly-ground coffee to raw sewage. This is, of course, an entirely understandable preference, but when you’re a church pastor, you really shouldn’t mind if the homeless, destitute, hungry, soaked-to-the-skin and generally traumatised might walk a little mud into your carpet. You shouldn’t mind if the municipal shelters aren’t quite full before sharing your fresh toast and croissants. You shouldn’t mind if those you hug happen to stink of BO.

To be a pastor is to serve: it is to perform altruistic actions of spontaneous love, care and compassion – without words, if possible. It is to find worship in the welfare of others; to place their needs above of one’s own. It is to have a conscience which is predisposed to doing the right thing and the good thing and better thing and the best thing, and that disposition will be innate, for the ministry is vocational. The pastoral heart is tender and relational, not callous and aloof. It isn’t simply a conceptual form of ecclesial address, but a practical and applied theology of social interaction.

It is hard to understand the heart of a church pastor who was not immediately and spontaneously concerned with the well-being of individuals and communities affected by Hurricane Harvey. What pastor opens his holy doors to healing and sustaining only when the local secular providers of healing and sustenance are full? Isn’t the true pastor bound to be first in the queue to welcome troubled and traumatised souls? What pastor guides and reconciles with tweets when people are literally drowning and dying in grief? Didn’t the Good Shepherd leave his 99 sheep to go in search of the missing one? He didn’t say, “It’s okay, Caesar will find him”, or “Leave it to the Judæan Municipal Council, it’s their job.” The Shepherd seeks until he finds, and the sheep know his voice.

Pastoring is about doing stuff, not preaching stuff. It is about care and caring in a cold and callous climate. So when the Pastor of a Texan mega-church – who is personally worth about $50million and who preaches to around seven million people weekly via all manner of flashy media – is judged by his community and the wider world to be uncaring, perhaps it’s unhelpful to call him a pastor, because he might not be one. At least not in the biblical tradition.

  • Eddie Arthur
    • Linus

      An interesting read and a good indication of why the fake archbishop never managed to get himself reselected as a parliamentary candidate. Once the Conservatives knew what he was really like, they thought “well there’s a disaster waiting to happen…”

      And so he fills his days blogging about things that we should all be grateful he has no power to influence. Casting the first stone, bearing false witness and condemning his fellow man are his favourite pastimes.

      Aren’t you glad he’s not making laws for you?

      • But, didn’t he stand as a Liberal Democrat?
        He could join UKIP and put himself forward for the leadership.

        • Linus

          According to my information he was deselected as Conservative candidate for the Slough (Slough!) electorate following a virulently anti-Catholic tirade in The Spectator. Something about a largely Catholic EU plotting to complete Felipe II of Spain’s evil plan to invade England and submit it to a violent counter-Reformation.

          One assumes he felt that as a leading heretic (in his own fevered imagination, if nowhere else), he would have been one of the first to be burned at the stake. He must be quite relieved now you’re quitting the EU. Although when you think about it, this rather increases the chances of a latter day Armada overwhelming your island and submitting it to fire and sword. You’re a rival now. An enemy. If relations between a newly independent UK and the EU turn even sourer than they currently are, who knows what measures we might have to take in order to eliminate a threat to our security?

          I pay twice-yearly visits to my last surviving aunt in Portugal, so perhaps the next time I’m there, I’ll pop up to A Coruña to see if any suspicious shipbuilding activities are underway. Or perhaps, learning the lessons of the last failed attempt, the attack will come through the Tunnel this time. Or maybe drones will be used to fly under your radar defences and drop bombs to soften you up before a fleet is launched from Calais. The refugee camps could well be a cover for a mercenary army in training.

          As they infiltrate their way into your country waiting for the signal to act, you can be sure that a whole squadron will be making its way to wherever the fake archbishop lives. Taking him out will be one of the EU’s first priorities. I mean, who else could provide the saintly leadership needed by an heroic English Protestant Resistance? As this blog proves daily (at least to its own author), there is no-one as righteous, upstanding and right about everything as Adrian Hilton. The very heart of England resides in his navel and he spends most of his time contemplating it, although you’d think he’d clean out a bit of the lint from time to time so the rest of us might see it too. As things stand, all we have is his word for it. And really, what’s that worth?

    • ecclesiaman

      Thanks for this. Really helpful. Lots of axe grinding here. A lesson for those of us who post to count to ten and then a lot more.

  • Gregory Morris

    Spot on as often….but I am not surprised to see wolves devouring the flock it’s what they do.

  • Sarky

    Iron Maiden had it right!!

    “Believe in me – send no money
    Died on the cross and that ain’t funny
    But my so called friends are making me a joke
    They missed out what I said like I never spoke
    They choose what they wanna hear – they don’t tell a lie
    They just leave out the truth as they’re watching you die
    Saving your souls by taking your money
    Flies round shit, bees around honey.”

    • Step11Recovery

      And even Genesis, of all bands …

      Won’t find me practicing what I’m preaching
      Won’t find me making no sacrifice
      But I can get you a pocketful of miracles
      If you promise to be good, try to be nice
      God will take good care of you
      Just do as I say, don’t do as I do

      I’m counting my blessings,
      I’ve found true happiness
      ‘Cause I’m getting richer, day by day
      You can find me in the phone book,
      Just call my toll free number
      You can do it anyway you want
      Just do it right away

      There’ll be no doubt in your mind
      You’ll believe everything I’m saying
      If you want to get closer to him
      Get on your knees and start paying
      ‘Cause Jesus he knows me
      And he knows I’m right
      I’ve been talking to Jesus all my life
      Oh yes he knows me

  • len

    Joel Osteen is running a business and he doesn`t want wet poor people messing up his nice carpets.

    • RobinHMasters

      Or possibly he just didn’t think of it.

  • Linus

    And the pot calls the kettle black…

    Does the fake archbishop have families of destitute refugees camped in his spare bedrooms? Here he is slamming someone for failing to help his fellow man in the face of disaster, but is he ignoring the disaster on his own doorstep and hypocritically condemning someone for committing the very sin that he himself is guilty of?

    I don’t have any refugees in my spare bedrooms, but I feel no obligation to take in those who would push me off a high building when they found out I was gay. I have no feelings of responsibility towards violent homophobes. But I’m not a Pixtian and am therefore not commanded to care.

    If the rumours about the fake archbishop’s sexuality are true, perhaps he feels the same. But for the religion he claims to follow, a reluctance to let violent homophobes into his home would be understandable. But why then cast the first stone at Osteen?

    He’s a real scribe and Pharisee, this fake archbishop, isn’t he?

    • Anton

      I’m not a Pixtian either. I’m a Christian.

      • Linus

        Yes, I know you’re a Pixtian. A worshipper of the Sky Pixie.

        I know the Pixiebook gives him a personal name and that his followers like to be called by that name, but I’m aware of no law that compels anyone to use that name.

        So Pixtians you are as far as I’m concerned. And thus will I call you. It’s a far more descriptive name than the one you use because it gives the nature of the deity you worship. I mean, if his name were Marcel Duchmol and you called yourself Duchmolians, who would know what you worshipped?

        • Anton

          You are a sexular humanist, if I recall correctly.

    • Chefofsinners

      And the darkness accuses the pot of calling the kettle black. No doubt your invitation to stay at the Adrian Hilton is in the post.

      • Linus

        Sorry, but even if I wasn’t already married, I wouldn’t be looking to shack up with a pale and pudgy Englishman who resembles a 1950s provincial librarian.

        I can’t abide the smell of camphor…

        • Chefofsinners

          You’re always welcome at Chef Towers when you fall on hard times, Linus. Both wings and the stables are barely used. Of course, there’ll be no hanky panky…

        • Inspector General

          “Married”

          {Howl!}

    • Manfarang

      Can you find Houston on a map?

    • Inspector General

      Somehow, one doubts any practicing muslim refugees you might take in will bother to establish b beyond doubt your aggrieved in-their-face homosexuality before hurling you from a roof. It would be a low roof too, so the rest of the family, young and old, can finish you off with a good stoning…

      You stick with us Pixtians, old fruit. We won’t throw you off any roof, high or low…Probably…

  • len

    There are false preachers who are selling a product and that product is something that alludes to be ‘the Gospel’. They are not the first to sell’ salvation’ to the gullible masses for a price and they will probably not be the last.
    These false preachers are doing immense harm to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ as they draw in the gullible and repel those who are seeking the truth about Jesus Christ.

    As always the full Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Word of God separates truth and error but people must test all things as did the Bereans. Yes, ‘ all things’ even from professing christians.

  • Chefofsinners

    I remember when Hurricane Harvey won the world snooker championship. What a player.

    • Norman Yardy

      Was it not Hurricane Higgins?

      • Chefofsinners

        No, definitely Harvey. The BBC has been reporting it for days now.

    • Manfarang

      Despite having once been worth £4 million, Higgins was bankrupt and survived on a £200-a-week disability allowance. He was found dead in bed in his flat on 24 July 2010. The cause of death was a combination of malnutrition, pneumonia, tooth decay, and a bronchial condition, although his daughter Lauren stated that he was clear from throat cancer when he died.

  • Anton

    What happened inside the Superdome when it was opened to flood refugees during Hurricane Katrina in 2005?

  • CliveM

    As we have seen so often, money corrupts. Not knowing anything about him, but I’m going to make a wild stab in the dark, I bet he preaches the prosperity gospel.

    It is very depressing when this happens in the Church, but there is a long history of it.

    • Dominic Stockford

      He does.

  • David

    Faith without works is dead.
    But then, the gospel of prosperity…?

    • IanCad

      Big business in the States, the prosperity gospel, David.

      Benny Hinn, the very aptly named Creflo Dollar and many, many more; but surely the master villain of them all has to be Peter Popoff. Link:

      • David

        Agreed.
        Using the gospel to enrich themselves like this, they will have much to answer for, before God.

      • Anton

        Benny Hinn who reckoned that the godhead was nine not three, because the fullness of each was in each of the Trinity? Peter Popoff who was caught with an earphone radio giving him “supernatural” information about the people he was ministering to? I enjoyed that in my atheist days. Here is Popoff’s deeply repulsive performance intercut with the radio transmissions he was hearing, together with a commentary by James Randi who intercepted and recorded the transmissions:

      • Jonathan

        Indeed. Sadly there are way too many of them, but Peter Popoff and Robert Tilton must surely be the worst of the worst. Almost unbelievably both are still active!

  • Mungling

    As others have reported, and will no doubt report after this comment, Lakewood Church has posted images which suggest that there was flooding inside their property, meaning that other facilities really might have been better to shelter people in need. Given that reality, and the fact that Lakewood Church has provided disaster relief in the past, I find it premature to suggest Osteen’s motives are nefarious. Is it entirely possible that that they were being upfront, and that they thought other facilities were better equipped to handle disaster relief? I’m not a member of his Church, and I vigorously disagree with his theology, but I think the line of criticism being directed towards Osteen and his church are premature at best and missing the mark at worst.

    • theman8469

      There was not Church services on Sunday due to fears of flooding.

  • John

    This natural disaster has shown millionaire Joel Osteen up for what he is; a smiling charlatan with heart of stone and a false gospel. “Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves. You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool, and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.” (Ezekiel 34.2-3).

  • carl jacobs

    Joel Osteen may preach something but it bears no resemblance to Christianity.

    • CliveM

      Its shocking to think he’s made £50m preaching the ‘Gospel’.

      • bluedog

        Must try harder, eh? With the Bible out of copyright he should be much further ahead.

      • carl jacobs

        It’s easy to tell people “God loves you and wants to make you rich”. And people love to hear it.

        The is a phenomenon in the US called the “Christian book store”. It’s a business with the word “Christian” in the title. They sell Christian kitsch and religiously themed books. Especially books that sell. Any book will do so long as it sells. And Joel Osteen sells a lot of books.

        • Anton

          My Catholic friends freely admit that Catholicism has long led the church in producing kitsch items. I deeply regret that we are catching them up. The Ship Of Fools Christian website has some superlative parodies:

          http://www.shipoffools.com/

        • CliveM

          If the Gospel being preached is easy, it’s a lie.

        • Manfarang

          Didn’t Family Christian go out of business?

          • carl jacobs

            It did. But that is because bookstores in general are suffering. No loss, though. The front half of the store was shlock. The sides were stocked with heresy. The back half was pablum, music and church supplies. If you looked you could find one half shelf of serious works. Right next to boat loads of books about how the latest story in the ME was the fulfillment of End Time prophesy.

      • Linus

        I doubt he’s made a single pound Sterling in his entire life. The Brits are stupid enough, but not that stupid, surely?

        No, Mr Osteen and his injection-moulded hair must have made their millions exclusively in Murrikin daahlurz. Who else would be stupid enough to bankroll him?

    • Dominic Stockford

      As it is the Prosperity Gospel he preaches, and as the prosperity gospel is in accord with Job’s visitors in believing that what you receive in life is an indication of your approval by God, JoOs should of course NOT open his doors to these people. After all, the loss of all they have must indicate that God does not approve of them at all.

    • And that is the concrete irrefutable reason for condemning him.

      • theman8469

        John you remind me of the self righteous morons that denied Tim Keller ‘The Kuyper Prize’. The president and vice president of ‘The Society of Christian philosophers’ who treated Richard Swinburne with contempt due to his unfashionable views on homosexuality. Even Jayne Ozanne who reported his Grace and posters on this site to the police for ‘Hate Crimes’. Enjoy yourself, get stuck in, I am sure it makes you feel better. But just make an effort to find out something about this man rather than parroting his critics.

        • And you know I haven’t, how?

        • len

          Being offended is something liberals do so well, don’t you think?

  • Watchman

    His Grace seems to be following a blog about idolatry with another one on idolatry.

    • Chefofsinners

      Joel Osteen isn’t a bone idol, he’s just bone idle.

  • carl jacobs

    Yes, beat Osteen bloody. Doesn’t bother me. He deserves it. Let the world see him for what he is.

    However, something to ponder. The company I work for would not have opened up the vast majority of its floor space to refugees in a similar circumstance. It would have opened up some locations -say the Rec Center. Most places would be kept closed. My company is not unique. The reticence would have been caused by concern over loss, damage, and compromise of proprietary or otherwise sensitive information. No one would have criticized the decision. There is an interesting assumption afoot here that churches are de facto public resources in a crisis. This fits with the modern secular idea that the only justification for a church in the modern world is “auxiliary social program provider”. And here is Osteen not fulfilling his designated purpose.

    This is said not to justify Osteen but to cast a wary eye on the motives of those who criticize him. They may not themselves be so pure as the driven snow.

  • Anna

    I wouldn’t criticise Joel Osteen’s response at this stage because it is hard to believe almost anything the media has to report about Christians. I certainly think he would be wiser to choose a simpler lifestyle. However, from all accounts, it appears that his church was closed last Sunday because flooding was expected in the area, and in that situation it might have been unwise to open their centre to shelter flood victims. There was no flooding as feared and so they opened their doors to the victims.

  • Mark

    He wouldn’t even be in a position to offer accommodation if people hadn’t given him “dollars for Jesus” in the first place. His “church” wouldn’t exist.
    How come we (I think most in the UK) have always been able to see through this stuff?
    How many documentaries exposing “dollars for Jesus” evangelicals have been made?
    Surely the people see these character’s personal wealth, yet they still give. For what? Where does he promise the money is going? Or is it just to please Jesus in building his church, and they fall for it?

    Disclaimer: I assume they give. Maybe he’s a financial whizz-kid who on a meagre salary has invested wisely. Maybe his wealth has opened hundreds of orphanages, hospitals and donut shops. He is well-groomed though.

    • theman8469

      He made his money from book sales, not from Church donations, moron.

  • layreader

    Strange. The only thing you appear to know about Pastor Osteen is how much he is worth. That allows you to criticise him in whatever way you fancy, regardless of the truth of any of these allegations. Subsequent posts appear to say that all is not as black and white as you believe. Your reputation has taken a bit of a hit here, as well as the Pastor’s.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Sorry, a man making millions of dollars out of ‘pastering’ doesn’t deserve to be called a pastor.

      • layreader

        I think there must be a typo there. Possibly you meant ‘plastering’, or even ‘pestering’, which would seem to be more appropriate. I am no more a fan of megachurches than any one else is, but I judge a church by the nature and quality of its teaching, rather than by the bank balance of its pastor.

        • Dominic Stockford

          In which case you would keep a million miles away from the aforesaid ‘church’. The teaching is, by Biblical standards, woeful.

        • len

          Joel Osteen , and many others, give the people want they want to hear, and its not the Gospel.

          ‘For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.'(2 Timothy 4:3)

          • theman8469

            What books have you read by Osteen? What sermons? He never talks about money in his sermons only about good interpersonal relationships.

          • len

            I have seen the man preach….well he said he was preaching…..It was more like motivational speaking, giving people the feel good factor…

          • theman8469

            You mean about being mentally healthy so that you can be a help to others, not just your family but your local community. Do not take drugs, do not drink to excess, respect your partner and do not cheat, bring your children up with love and respect, try and defuse volatile situations, listen to others and learn from them. Yep I agree a complete cad.

          • len

            No mention of Jesus then?. Which is the point we are making?.

          • theman8469

            You said “I have seen the man preach…..was more like motivational speaking” My reply was that his, what you call, motivational speaking was put foreword as an important foundation to serve as an effective servant of Christ. I am not particularly impressed by his work but I will not allow the pathetic lies spewed out by yourself and others on this site.

          • Brian Kelly

            Plenty of Law there. How about the Gospel?

          • Chefofsinners

            Does he say you create good personal relationships by calling people idiots and morons?

          • theman8469

            I am not a follower of Osteen. I am just sick of your and other peoples lies about this man.

        • How a Pastor uses his wealth is most certainly a legitimate question.

      • theman8469

        He does not made a penny from his Church work. He made his money from his book sales, idiot.

        • Damaris Tighe

          I presume the books are related to religion and he sells them as pastor. How is that any better? I didn’t for one moment think that he made all his money from the collection tray, although I’m sure his tv broadcasts help.

          • theman8469

            Well that includes just about every Christian writer in the world. What is your point?

        • carl jacobs

          Damaris Tighe isn’t an idiot. You do yourself no credit by insulting him without cause.

          • Inspector General

            Damaris is a lady’s name, idiot.

          • carl jacobs

            Egad! The Higher Understanding has condemned me. How shall I go on in life?

          • Inspector General

            One cannot even start to describe the satisfaction sending that admonishing post generated, Carl, so one won’t even try…

            : – >

          • carl jacobs

            In my defense, it sounds masculine to an American ear.

          • Anton

            When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” So Paul departed from among them. However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them – Acts 17:32-4.

          • Chefofsinners

            Yes, but it sounds masculine to an American ‘ere. Keep struggling, Carl. Eventually the whole blog will turn to cream and you will walk out.

          • bluedog

            Thought for the day: why is it that both scum and cream float to the top?

          • Chefofsinners

            …while Linus sinks to the bottom?

          • bluedog

            Clever clogs, aren’t we?

          • Brian Kelly

            Understood, Carol.

          • carl jacobs

            Now … Was that fair?

          • Brian Kelly

            No, Carl, it was a weak attempt at humour. No offence intended. I assumed that as a man well-versed in the Scriptures you’d know the name ‘Damaris’, which incidentally is also the name of an educational organisation in the UK that provides good apologetic material in Religious Education and Ethics to high school students.

        • Chefofsinners

          Book sales to… the people in his church?

        • Why do you need to pepper your comments with inflammatory words like moron, idiot. Do you see this as Christian? Is this what you’re learning from Olsteen?

  • Merchantman

    I have seen photos of flooding in the centre of the church. Looks like the maintenance isnt too good. Yes he should have opened the doors if it wasgenerally warm and dry. Maybe he will have learned humility by this flood. Riches certainly aren’t what Jesus preached. However we dont want people to remain poor so where do we say so far and no further. This flood should ask questions of ourselves; when is enough, enough?

  • Chefofsinners

    Pastor Osteen’s actions are based firmly in scriptural flood theology. It is recorded in the book of Joelesis that after spending 100 years building a really fancy ark, Noah refused to allow any animals on board in case they ruined the carpets.

    • David Cavanagh

      How the dinosaurs died out!

      • Chefofsinners

        Ruined the carpets? Yes, my wife takes a dim view of that too.

    • grutchyngfysch

      Though one may observe that the unrighteous were not given shelter in the actual ark.

  • Manfarang

    ” homeless, destitute, hungry, soaked-to-the-skin and generally traumatized”
    Not the poor but many middle class people whose homes are under water.

    • Dominic Stockford

      their background is irrelevant – they are almost all now hungry, homeless, destitute, and generally traumatised.

      • Manfarang

        The point is they won’t mess up that mega-church.

        • Dominic Stockford

          That may well be at the root of the decision not to throw the place open.

  • maigemu

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/august/some-people-hate-joel-osteen-more-than-they-love-truth-hous.html would suggest another perspective so for once i am deleting my Facebook posting of your blog. Response?

    • James60498 .

      I have come across something that seemed equivalent to a Prosperity Gospel through work in the UK and absolutely agree that it is in no way Christian.

      I do like the comment on one of the links below “”it’s a shame people have to learn he is a Prosperity-preaching fraud through false allegations”

      But a twitter storm with a chance to have a dig at Trump supporters.
      What more does a May supporter need? Truth?

      • Dominic Stockford

        The Prosperity Gospel is not the Gospel – it reverses the way God works. Most of the Book of Job is spent undoing its foolish tenets. If someone is preaching it they cannot understand God, or the way in which he works, or Jesus Christ.

        • James60498 .

          Yes. I am fully aware of that. Hence my comment that “it is in no way Christian”.

          A Prosperity Gospel is how it is described in some of the links, all of which are critical of the man, but also critical of the way that this story has come out. Including the phrase that I quote.

          I am not sure of the reason for your comment.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I was ‘chucking’ in some Biblical support for the sad truths about the alternative gospel that this man preaches. Always helps a Christians case to do so.

          • James60498 .

            His “Gospel” is appalling I agree.

            If the host had limited himself to that I would have agreed with him.

            But he used a twitter storm without it appears many facts to have a go at not only this man, but also Trump supporters.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Good article, which seems to shed some light on the facts instead of mere moral outrage.

  • Dominic Stockford

    The good shepherd looking for the lost sheep is a spiritual metaphor, and nothing to do with opening a building for us in such a dire situation. I would normally utterly agree that a church building is a house of worship, for God’s glory. But in these way-from-normal circumstances what an opportunity to help those who are in astonishing need – and to then preach the Gospel to them while they are sitting there with nothing to do but worry. He could be standing up there speaking the Gospel to those who would never hear it otherwise.

  • Inspector General

    How desperately sad. It’s what churches are for. To give relief spiritual, and if need be, relief bodily.

    In the Cotswolds, churches were used, presumably before pews cluttered the things, to accommodate sheep in particularly foul weather. The sheep were beloved. They were the communities wealth. In fact, should you make off with even a lamb that did not belong to you, they would hang you for it. Though it used to be said that if you were inclined to risk your neck that way, you might as well do so for a fully grown sheep. One does like the old ways, so if any MPs are reading this, how about a Private Member’s bill to get that reasonable deterrent back on the statute book in these lawless times.

    Cromwell stabled his horses in Gloucester cathedral. Not to insult the place, though he was a puritan, but for the same as above. No finer quarter would there be found anywhere in the town for the most valuable of his military equipment.

    • Martin

      IG

      No, it’s not what churches are for. But it is not an inappropriate use of the building.

    • Chefofsinners

      Nowadays Welby stables his donkeys in cathedrals.

      • Inspector General

        Grudging tick up arranged…

    • David

      Cromwell stabled his horses in a church near me, Kentford, a 13th C one built on the site of a much earlier Anglo-Saxon settlement. He did this because the locality was vaguely pro-Royalty and he didn’t like their medieval wall paintings. So his minimum insult was to stable his mounts there. In the morning they had to clean out the horses ‘offerings’ ! But that was a small price to pay for keeping their heads.

      • Jonathan

        Most wall paintings in all English churches had been whitewashed a hundred years earlier. Interestingly Cromwell did not whitewash the walls and they survived till relatively recently but now they are only on one wall. If Cromwell did all the things he is said to have done he must have had the supernatural ability to be in several places at once and that repeatedly over history.

  • len

    Perhaps it will be the coming persecution which sorts out the true believers in Christ from the followers who are only there for what God can do for them.

    “In the first century in Palestine, Christianity was a community of believers. Then Christianity moved to Greece and became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome and became an institution. Then it moved to Europe and became a culture. And then it moved to America and became a business.
    We need to get back to being a healthy, vibrant community of true followers of Jesus.”
    (Priscilla Shirer)

    • bluedog

      M/s Shirer makes a very serious point. The established churches hold no copyright over Christianity which has become a global common, able to be exploited by all and sundry, as His Grace’s blog describes. The non-institutionalised religions, specifically Judaism and Islam, don’t seem to be afflicted by the same commercialisation. It is difficult to draw a conclusion from this divergence but if say, the Roman Church were to fail, it would not necessarily mean the end of Christian witness, merely its greater evolution into diverse forms.

  • carl jacobs

    Hrmmmm. So what is the greatest source of available floor space for use in a refugee crisis? That would be … privates homes. Is there a Twitter lynch mob demanding privates homes be opened? Well, no. Because then the mob would suddenly be accusing itself. This isn’t about the mob doing anything itself, of course. It’s about the mob seeing itself as righteous … without actually have to do anything to back it up.

    It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people will sacrifice other people’s property for the sake of some public good. “Hey, you over there! Sacrifice something so I can feel good about myself! Or don’t! Then I can savage you for being selfish so I can feel good about myself! … Huh? … What about me?”

    • len

      You would have to find a lot ,I mean a real lot, of Christians prepared to open their homes to make a comparison with a mega church?.

      • carl jacobs

        And non-Christians. Which of course was my point. People who don’t have a church will say “Open your church!” People who have a home will not say “Open your home!”

        Why would that difference exist?

        • len

          Christians should be a tad more hospitable than secular people?…..perhaps not then?

          • carl jacobs

            But non-Christians aren’t demanding that Christians open their homes. Why?

          • len

            Dunno?….

          • Sarky

            According to the houston chronical, all the mosques have opened as shelters

          • Chefofsinners

            How doth the little crocodile
            Improve his shining tail,
            And pour the waters of the Nile
            On every golden scale!
            How cheerfully he seems to grin,
            How neatly spreads his claws,
            And welcomes little fishes in,
            With gently smiling jaws!

          • carl jacobs

            Which has what to do with anything? I would expect churches to provide help. I am not commenting on churches but on the mob expressing its righteous indignation.

          • len

            Mobs act like….mobs.No surprise there.
            Christians act like secular people sometimes….No surprise there either.

    • Inspector General

      The Higher Understanding has no room for doormat Christianity. If you want open your own home to all and sundry in need, don’t be surprised if you come home one day and find your son recruited for the jihad, and your daughter weeping in the corner following FGM…

      • carl jacobs

        Perhaps the Higher Understanding should investigate reading comprehension.

        • Inspector General

          Silly Carl. One was reinforcing your stance.

          • carl jacobs

            Inconceivable! The Higher Understanding and I are Antithetical. If it says X, I am bound by both Scripture and Right Reason to say Not X. I cannot do otherwise. So help me God.

      • bluedog

        One understands that things are much the same round at The Deeper Meaning, Inspector. It’s out with bells and smells and in with aroma-therapy and whale song.

  • len

    Relax everybody Joel is opening the church doors….at last.

    • Chefofsinners

      So, the only person not in his church is Jesus Christ.

      • len

        Bit of an oversight but they have left Jesus outside.
        The door that Jesus Christ is knocking on is the door to His( Jesus’s) Church.

  • Chefofsinners

    On the other hand, when there was a really big flood, God Himself closed the door on the only means of salvation. Those who were saved were those who came aboard while the doors were open and Noah preached righteousness. Those who only sought God once disaster overtook them found that they were too late. So shall it be at the end of the age.

  • Chefofsinners

    One trusts we have all enjoyed the pasting that Osteen is getting at The Babylon Bee?
    http://babylonbee.com/news/joel-osteen-sails-luxury-yacht-flooded-houston-pass-copies-best-life-now/

  • Pastor! He’s a poseur more like.

  • Ray Spring

    A missionary friend in HK was invited back to China. The Cultural Revolution was dying. He went to the town where he was born?, anyway, he knew the town. The Magnificent Church building was standing. People were living in it. What to do? He said to me, how did we build those places whilst people were homeless?

  • HoratioLordNelson

    Er… his church was flooded too. There are picturesw. But don’t let that get in the way of sitting in judgement on a prosperity teacher that everyone loves to bash despite never having met the guy or knowing much aboit him. He’s a rich preacher so we’ll bash him, judge him to feel good about ourselves and justify our own failure to acheive anything in life or do anything for Houston flood victims ourselves or even pastor anyone despite writing about how Joel Osteen should pastor people. Wow the self righteous judgemental hypocrites are out in force.

    • carl jacobs

      Joel Osteen is a wolf who teaches a false gospel and makes a lot of money doing so. Yes, I feel quite free to judge both his theology and his practice as a leader of a church. I judge Joseph Smith by the same criteria. Should I not do so?

      • theman8469

        And I judge you as a liar. Your ‘theology’ renders you incapable of fact checking, understanding and anything even roughly resembling honesty. Are you a psychopath?

        • carl jacobs

          You have a very distinct apologetic method.

          Argument 1: Idiot!
          Argument 2: Moron!
          Argument 3: Liar!
          Argument 4: Psychopath!

          It’s not Presuppositional. It’s not Classical. It’s not Evidentiary. We’ll have to invent a whole new word for it.

          • HoratioLordNelson

            Obnoxious?

          • theman8469

            My arguments have been that his Grace has been taken in by a false narrative and the self-righteous idiots/morons/liars/psychopaths on this site have ran with this false narrative even after being corrected on the facts. His Grace has himself been victim to name-calling and false accusations (for example this is a hate site) and I wrongly believed that this would encourage some fact checking on the side of His Grace and the posters. Sadly this has not been the case and I am bitterly disappointed. Everything has become political with everyone taking a stance without thought, compassion or rationality. So yes the people on this site are idiots, morons and liars – the posts speak for themselves.

          • carl jacobs

            Well then. How fortunate are we that such a bright, perspicacious, gracious, articulate individual such as yourself has arrived to edumacate us.

          • theman8469

            Your welcome.

  • Mike vonTschudi

    Your Grace:
    I was perturbed about this too, until an acquaintance and colleague in the Houston metro area sent me the following:
    “The roads around the church flood in a drizzle. The parking is two basement levels. Where should volunteers park, and what precautions should be taken to make sure the church doesn’t flood before it allows in those seeking shelter?”
    “I’ve lived here 35 years. We don’t need outsiders ignorantly running their mouths because they have an agenda.”
    “And I’m not one of is flock. I’m actually atheist. Find something else to hate him over. Not this. Not now.”

    So…..
    MvT

  • Lucius

    I caution Your Grace about joining the court of social media opinion on this matter, as there may be more to this story than meets the eye. First, the Church is prone to flooding and parts were flooded. Second, the Church is not a good “shelter” location per se. Aside from the fact that it floods, it possesses neither kitchen nor shower facilities. Finally, the City of Houston has reached out to specific area churches to serve as shelters, but Lakewood Church was not one of them (probably because of some of the aforementioned reasons). I suspect Lakewood Church is just easy an target that will make headlines because its Christian (and the media loves castigating Christians when it can), wealthy, and well-known.

    • David

      Caution heeded with thanks.

  • Father David

    Well at least this makes a change from USA megachurch pastors reaching their nemesis through what might be called “sexual impropriety”. To be heavily criticised for failing to be obedient to the Social Gospel is a different kettle of fish completely! Pastor Osteen – Keep Smiling!

  • Mike Stallard

    I draw people’s faces for a hobby.
    Look at his eyes. Look at his mouth.

    • Father David

      Well, he certainly ain’t a chinless wonder!
      “What Big eyes you have Pastor Osteen”
      “All the better to see you with, my dear!”
      “What Big Smiley teeth you have Pastor Osteen”
      “All the better to eat you all up, my dear!
      Now, gizzus yer money!”

  • David

    Breitbart’s daily news summary email to me contained an uplifting video of spontaneous gospel singing breaking out at an education centre used for sheltering the recently homeless – everyone there of all races joined in or just smiled – it shows the power of gospel singing to draw people together.

  • michaelkx

    it church’s like that, that give us all a bad name.

  • Steven Dale

    Maybe, just maybe, folk who are so eager to tweet etc and condemn someone they should check the facts first. If you did you would find several facts that contradict what folk are so readily repeating. I recommend reading this: https://www.denisonforum.org/?utm_source=Cultural+Commentary&utm_campaign=dcfb6b11d3-Four+lessons+from+the+Joel+Osteen+controversy&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_51f776a552-dcfb6b11d3-272616649&mc_cid=dcfb6b11d3&mc_eid=8f7dd7c007

    Maybe then you will apologise for being so eager to condemn someone without checking what is fact and what is fiction.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Your ‘fact’ is derived from one source, partial to the church. ABC’s ‘fact’ is derived from another, not so partial to the church.

  • andrew

    American pastors ignore the needy, and Anglican elites ignore the white raped girls of Pakistani enrichment. Everywhere one turns, one realises that Christianity had been hijacked.

  • Herrnhut

    Wow all these murmurs. I can see behind all these wrath in their tongues are their fear in their minds. They may believe in Jesus BUT still hold on to all these Moses and Eliyah. Their words of wrath confirm their fear. Fear of future, fear of heart disease, fear of cancer, fear of dying, fear of God’s judgment. Psalm 90:11″Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?” The original Hebrew of second half is very clear, two words, fear and wrath.

    Yes you who judge others has already judged your own soul. And it shows through your mouth. If you do not cease and desist, your fear will come nigh. For us who believe in Jesus and not follow old covenant, Jesus said “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus please help them not to sin against you with their mouth. In thy name I pray Amen.

  • Ian G
  • Lucius, below, makes a good point. The church was partially flooded, access was risky or at least unreliable at the time, and it wasn’t clear whether further flooding would occur. What’s unclear to me is what liabilities any institution would face if it opened its doors. Could it be sued by some of its guests and would insurance cover all damages and liabilities in a situation where a building is used for other purposes than it was designed for? And, would or should an institution be absolved of potential damages if ordered to open its doors by authorities under state of emergency laws? A highly litigious society, which the US certainly is, cannot expect random or heroic acts of inspired kindness from institutional or corporate entities without offering some sort of legal protection to them.