Which doctrines and practices are minor? There isn't such a list in the Bible. The Bible doesn't deal with doctrine and practice that way---just the opposite. The tertiary doctrines and practices have been artificially manufactured by evangelicals and fundamentalists to cobble together coalitions for greater signficance. The casualties are the truth, obedience, and God. The new enemies are those who insist on preserving and protecting all the doctrine of God's Word.
Post-enlightenment culture of the world has changed radically---its art, literature, language, music, and fashion. And we're not talking here about printers, projectors, planes, and polyester. Churches and Christians, which are responsible for holding the line on biblical, godly belief and behavior, for maintaining a lifestyle distinct from the world, have slid along several steps behind as if dragged by an invisible tether. This slide contradicts the immutability of the nature of God and His Truth. Room has been carved out for the contradiction with the invention of the tertiary doctrine or practice. Now the secondary belief and behavior position has become cardinal dogma of a new evangelical canon, its adherents scrambling and sifting through history to find a whiff of its presence, willing to jettison any long proven exegesis that might get in their path.
Among many others, biblical appearance or dress, dress standards if you will, is one of the beliefs or practices bounced off the boat, bobbing in its wake without a life preserver. It had to go. It offended way too many important, new passengers of the Christian coalition.
You can still have dress standards for yourself and your family. More power to you. Go for it. But don't expect others to be with you. And even if you do, don't make it an issue of fellowship or separation. Dress standards, my friend, have become secondary and tertiary, and now are only a distraction from what's really important.
If you bring up dress standards in evangelicalism and in a lot of fundamentalism, you're one of the following---a moralist, a legalist, judgmental, anti-intellectual, unloving, the weaker brother, a Pharisee---or you're just ignored. Take your pick. Also very common now is the charge that those who hold to these now tertiary practices undermine the gospel with dress standards. Today a professing Christian looking for a church thinks of himself as even on some higher theological ground if he rejects a church with dress standards. He justifies himself with aforementioned labels affixed through the persistent propaganda campaign of evangelical and fundamentalist leaders now for a half a century.
Dress standards divide up into four types: extravagance, worldliness, modesty, and gender distinction. Of course, modernistic Christianity will focus on the first of these with the new emphasis on casual dress. You won't be required to dress-down for church, but you're probably at least more authentic if you do. What was once normal Sunday best is now extravagant and unChristlike. The other three types of dress standards have been tossed overboard. You'll hear just a little, very little, about modesty and that's it.
In the materials on what make doctrines or practices tertiary, they are usually shifted to the secondary column by their distant proximity to the gospel and their supposed relative ambiguity. For instance, the Bible doesn't prohibit shorts on women. You won't find that verse anywhere. Now that means the teaching must be unclear. And women won't go to hell for wearing shorts. The people who really care for women's souls don't want a dress standard to get in the way of their getting saved. These are how a dress standard has become tertiary. And if it's tertiary, you would be wrong to make a big deal about it, really don't want to make anyone feel guilty about violating 'one of your standards,' and especially wouldn't want to separate over it.
Even if someone does believe there are tertiary doctrines and practices, have dress standards always been treated like they are today? Are the people with the dress standards really the oddballs of Christian or church history? Or are those who have opted out of the standards by reason of the new tertiary doctrine category the ones who clash with orthodox doctrine and history?
The trashing of Christian culture by Christians themselves helps explain the horrible shape of the United States today. Professing Christians helped excuse the dump that American culture has become, one from which it has become exponentially more difficult to be saved. God designed men and He gave them dress standards. Christians have joined the world in the rejection of those standards. By doing so, they think the world will like them better and the world also might have a better opportunity to be saved. The former is probably true, but the latter isn't. The former, however, is also a very sad state of affair. Christianity is so like the world in its dress that it's hard to tell the difference. And this isn't God's will.
Christian preachers once preached against mixed swimming. Not any more. Churches organize mixed swimming activities for their young people. Churches once distinguished between men and women in the design of clothing. Not any more. Now a popular Christian woman author proudly sports a butch haircut on the cover or flyleaf. Blue jeans are even acceptable church attire for ladies.
The orthodox and historic position of Christianity forbade pants on women. It's only been for decades that Christians haven't done so. That's the position that every Christian took for centuries, as far back as before the printing press. That standard was challenged by the most godless pagans in our society until it became mainstream. It originated with people with an anti-god agenda. Churches at first bucked and resisted, and now they operate just like the world in this behavior. They defend it. The change never came through biblical exegesis or spiritual renewal, but through theological erosion and compromise. Now evangelicalism and fundamentalism pressure with mockery and ridicule the few churches remaining with this dress standard to capitulate and join in. Why mockery and ridicule? Because that's the best stuff they've got. They either don't want to feel guilty for selling out or they don't want to have even the faintest of association with these curious cousins.
Oh, but it's tertiary. Women dressing like men is tertiary. The rise of homosexuality. The break down of the male and female role. The destruction of the family. The downfall of a nation. Worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator. Tertiary.
Change in dress standards is a case study on the corruption of biblical doctrine and practice. A culture corrodes first in the areas that most clash with society. The pattern of corruption makes way for further doctrinal and practical erosion. God is no longer in charge. His way is no longer respected. The so-called major doctrines are not far behind because the toleration of error has already started. Total apostasy.