Six men were removed from Lakewood Church and arrested for criminal trespassing after disrupting Joel Osteen's sermon by yelling and attacking the senior pastor's character during Sunday's service.
A video posted online shows one of the hecklers being removed from the service, held at Lakewood's main campus in the former Compaq Center sports arena, to the applause of the congregation.
"The praise and worship was good," Anwar Richardson, who recorded the video, told local news outlet ABC 13. "His wife had just delivered a quick message. And the moment he started to preach, somebody gets up and they yell 'Joel Osteen you're a liar.'"
But the interruptions were not over yet. Five more hecklers would interrupt the message, each eventually removed from the church by security and charged with criminal trespassing by Houston police.
"After the sixth time that it occurred, my son was sleeping in my lap, and I looked at my wife and she was nervous and we just decided we have to get out of here," said Richardson, who was visiting from out of town.
Evoking fears of a repeat of the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston just a week and a half before, some of the congregants began to be worried for their safety.
"All I could think of is you don't know what's going on, and I just can't wait to find out, so I've gotta get out of there," he said.
Despite the repeated interruptions and attacks on his character, Osteen pressed through, determined to deliver the message he had come to give.
"Thank you all for your patience and we'll just continue to receive what God has for us," the pastor is seen saying on the video as one of the hecklers is being removed. "It's a good day to be alive."
"He kept on going," another witness said of Osteen's reaction to the heckling. "He kept his composure. He really got the message out and he said no weapon formed against me shall prosper. So kudos to him for delivering a good service."
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