We have began a consideration (143) of the nature of the Church of Jesus Christ. We have considered its essential nature: an organism of those who have genuinely believed the Gospel of Jesus and been born again into the family of God, not an organization led by men who claim to be trustworthy and, perhaps, even infallible. (145) We have also considered the reason that a consideration of the Church is necessary: the Bible, the Word of God, plainly declares that in the latter days there will be many religious organizations (churches) which will be led by apostates and deceivers who appear to have the answers but actually lead people into false confidence that their brand of religion will get them to heaven. (146)
These facts lead us to a third consideration: why does God allow religious deception? Why doesn't He make one, true, visible manifestation of the True Church, and make everything else visibly secular--so that people can either be religious or secular? Wouldn't it be easier if people had only to decide whether to be religious or secular? Wouldn't it be fairer of God to make the issues crystal clear and not so muddy?
God allows religious deception for at least two reasons: 1) He allows deception so that those who don't really want to know Him on a personal basis can be deceived; and 2) He allows deception so that those who really do want to know Him on a personal basis can be strengthened in their faith by the necessity of weeding through the false to get to the True.
Let's consider God's first reason for letting many churches exist when only one Gospel is true. God isn't interested in people who want to claim to be religious so that they can live their lives centered around their own agendas and still go to heaven when they die. But Jesus said most people fall into this category. They are not atheists, but they are also not committed to God, heart and soul. They want eternal life when they die, but they want to live life their own way in this world. They don't want God to have a good excuse to condemn them to eternal hell when they die, but neither do they want to have God telling them what to do while they are living in this life. So, because people, by and large, fit into this category of wanting to be religious enough to escape Hell but not religious enough to want God to be their best friend (without exception), God allows them to be deceived by multitudes of religious options. They don't want Him anyway, so He has given them over to their wish to be religious in appearance while being selfish in reality. It is a judgment from Him that they are trapped by the deception of religion. This judgment will end in eternal condemnation for people who thought they had been religious enough, but ultimately discover that they have been too selfish for God to accept.
The irony of this is that God has placed His Word in the world so that no one has to be victimized by religion. It is not hard to see false religion when one goes by the revealed Word of God. The Bible says false religion will be led by those who claim infallibility and exclusivity. The Bible is the record of the Truth and no one will escape the requirement to study it.