Below are the activities that IPS conducts on a regular basis.  Although not a comprehensive list, these outreaches highlight the core part of our strategy to educate on biblical principles of government, economics, and history.

Biblical Principles of Government

This is the flagship and longest-running program of IPS. It is a 10 week, 20 hour course designed for adults and teenage students. Taught by IPS President, Mike Winther, this family class dives deep within the Christian worldview to discover the proper roles of family, church, and civil government in society through the pages of Scripture.

In depth learning

Former Host Churches

  • Big Valley Grace Community Church x3 (Modesto)
  • Ceres Christian Church (Ceres)
  • Cornerstone Fellowship x2 (Livermore)
  • Covenant Orthodox Presb. (San Jose)
  • Gatetree Baptist x2 (Danville)
  • Grace Bible Church x2 (Pleasant Hill)
  • Lone Hill Church x2 (San Jose)
  • Northside Baptist (Modesto)
  • Valley Bible Church (Pleasanton)
  • Connecting Point Church of the Nazarene (Denair)
  • Newark Community Church (Newark)
  • Almond Valley CRC (Ripon)
  • Fairway Park Baptist Church (Hayward)
  • Trinity Southern Baptist (Fresno)
  • Zion United Reformed Church (Ripon)
  • Ark Baptist Church x2 (Milpitas)
  • Hope Center Covenant Church (Pleasant Hill)
  • Zion Lutheran Church (Piedmont)
  • Woodward Park Baptist Church (Fresno)
  • The Home Church (Campbell)
  • Monte Vista Chapel (Turlock)

Topics Covered

10 Weeks, 12 Modules
  • Foundations
    • Evolution vs. creation
    • Importance of origins
    • Authority vs. power
    • Types of governments

  • Forms of Governments 
    • Monarchy, oligarchy, democracy, republic
    • The nature of man – Plato vs. Paul
    • How the protestant reformation also reformed civil government

  • Economics #1
    • Desert island scenario – capital, money, supply, demand
    • Economic systems compared

  • Economics #2
    • Inflation
    • Recessions, depressions
    • Currency supply
    • The invisible hand
  • Charity
    • Biblical standards
    • Charity: the key to evangelism
    • Competition between church and state for charity
    • Historical perspectives on charity

  • The Constitution
    • Biblical principles used by the founders

  • Decision-Making Processes
    • The world’s process
    • The biblical process
    • Principle vs. practicality

  • Education
    • Biblical reasons to educate
    • Biblical ways to educate
    • History of education in America
  • History
    • Different views of history – Atheist v. Christian
    • Last 500 years

  • Strategies of our Adversaries
    • Our spiritual adversary and his strategies
    • Our human adversaries and their strategies

  • International Issues
    • Just War Theory and St. Augustine
    • International trade
    • Treaties and the Constitution

  • A Plan for Renewal & Revival in America and the World


“You have such a gift for teaching and for making difficult topics easy to understand. I'm always amazed by your depth of understanding of the different topics you cover, and the logic you display.”

“It was the best use of 10 weeks that our family ever spent together.”

“Your speaking and teaching are very captivating and inspiring, helping us learn how to think on the basis of biblical truth.”

“It’s good medicine for apathy to politics and government class.”

“I’ve learned so many new things that I can’t wait to share with others.”

“Mike’s excellent teaching radically changed my mind to what I originally was taught many years ago of the principles of government and its role in our society.”

“To be wise as serpents is as much of a command as to be harmless as doves—economics is a moral issue.”

“What you are sharing is invaluable and I want you to know how much I appreciate your stepping out in faith into this ministry full time.”

Now Available On DVD

The Institute for Principle Studies' flagship class can now be seen in your own home, church, school, or social gathering!

In this insightful yet challenging series, IPS President, Mike Winther, walks viewers through answering one fundamental question:

"What is the proper role of government?"

If you're puzzled at the importance of this question, then you're in one worldview-shifting and paradigm-shattering ride! Because the answer to this question impacts the very fabric of society and your well-being.

Pick up this one-of-a-kind DVD series today and gain the vision, passion, and knowledge for becoming a world-changer for Christ! 

Buy Now
Logos Forensic Association logo

Logos Forensic Association

Established in 2008 by the Institute for Principle Studies, the LFA is a private Christian high school speech and debate league.  The purpose of this league is to expose teachers and students to biblical principles of government in relation to yearly debate topics.  Unlike many other high school debate leagues, the LFA is committed to building character and a biblical worldview in its high school students.

In Depth Learning

What Is Debate & Why Is It Important?

Forensics (debate) comes from the Latin word forensis, meaning “in open court” or “public.”  Forensics refers to the process of gathering evidence, preparing a case, and presenting that case in a court of law.  Forensic competitors learn the skills of research, logic, and persuasion which enables them to appeal to any audience – even the court of public opinion.

Through speech and debate, students learn to challenge themselves, to seek out answers, and to educate themselves.  But that’s not all.  Students also gain a myriad of advantages, which propels them in the job market, advances them in academics, and sets them on a course of success!  Without question, speech and debate is pivotal in training students to be articulate advocates for Christ in future generations.

Advantages Students Gain

College Preparation

Surveys indicate that over 98% of debaters attend college while also being self-directed and motivated, ensuring success while pursuing higher education.

Better Test Scores

Research shows that students who compete in debate receive higher test scores and better grades than peers who don’t participate in forensics. Students who participate in debate score 25% higher than their peers on reading, writing, and math tests. Debaters also score higher on the SAT and ACT.

Improved Critical Thinking

Debate teaches proper argumentation. Students learn to use logic and to think on their feet.

Leadership Qualities

Forensics encourages students to be leaders on their campus and in their personal lives.

Public Speaking Skills

Public speaking is the #1 fear in America, but it is also a skill that is highly sought after by colleges and employers. Speech and debate fosters a love for public speaking and produces success for students in any environment!

Better Understanding of Civics

Forensic students develop an understanding and a fondness for economics, history, and government studies.


“Debate has been an amazing addition to my life this year.  Public speaking is so fun for me now and I have used the skills I learned from debate in several school projects and presentations. Since I am not an athletic person, debate has become my sport and I am really excited to do it all again next year!” 

– Olivia

“My experience with the LFA debate league has been one to remember. It has challenged me to really look at my world views more in depth. I have learned to love and appreciate this league!”

- Hannah

“Freshman year I never would have thought that I would be where I am today... Debate has truly impacted my life in multiple ways.”

- Alina

“My experience with LFA debate has been amazing! The LFA debate league specifically is wonderful because of its emphasis on Christianity.”

- Kendyl

Modesto Debate

Modesto Debate is a competitive homeschool debate club that trains junior high and high school students in the art and tactics of speech and debate. Founded in 1999, this club is taught personally by Mike and Mary Winther and is part of the Stoa USA Christian homeschool speech and debate league.

in depth learning
highest national
judging debate round


It is the goal of the Winthers to teach effective communication skills in the context of the proper biblical view of government and economics.  Through their work with Modesto Debate, Mike and Mary have educated hundreds of students in the ethical and philosophical aspects of government and economics. 


Debate is unique because it is a dynamic speech, logic, and research activity that teaches students how to reason and communicate calmly and persuasively.  Debate capitalizes on the “logic” and “rhetoric” stages of development and creates a fun environment that motivates students to learn skills that are almost impossible to acquire in any other way.


Students who are 13 years of age or older and at least 51% privately homeschooled are eligible. Students enrolled in a public charter school are not eligible. Younger students may be accepted on a case by case basis. Enrollment begins in August with both  novice and varsity classes starting in September. Tuition is $200 per semester. Sibling discounts are available.


Because of your faithful worldview and Biblical teaching with healthy debate competition, you have influenced thousands of people for the Lord's glory.
Our children learned to think critically, gained an awareness of national and global issues, developed outstanding research skills, devised solutions to current problems, and cultivated effective communication skills. More importantly, under the instruction of the Winthers, our children learned to filter ideas through biblical principles.
I am so grateful the Lord inserted debate into our lives. My kids are developing the ability to carry themselves well, speak and write clearly, and share their opinions respectfully.

First Look

This two day conference is an intensive First Look at the Stoa Team Policy Debate Resolution.  Unlike a typical debate camp, there are no lectures on debate theory, no lab groups, and no practice rounds.  The focus is on learning about the resolution.  Our high class speakers provide this, from a variety of different perspectives, directly to students.

in depth learning

Past Speakers

On Agricultural & Transportation Policies
Randal O'Toole - First Look 2017 Speaker

Randal O'Toole

Cato Institute Senior Fellow

Adrian Moore - First Look 2017 Speaker

Adrian Moore, Ph.D.

Vice President of Policy at Reason Foundation

Ben Tripousis - First Look 2017 Speaker

Ben Tripousis

Northern California Regional Director for the California High Speed Rail Authority

Brian Marshall - First Look 2017 Speaker

Brian Marshall

Air Traffic Control Supervisor, Oakland International Airport

Greg Rehmke - First Look 2017 Speaker

Gregory Rehmke

Program Director of Economic Thinking

Mike Winther - First Look 2017 Speaker

Mike Winther

President of IPS

Greg Rehmke - First Look 2017 Speaker

Ninos Malek, Ph.D.

Professor of Economics at De Anza College

Daniel Sumner - First Look 2016 Speaker

Daniel Sumner

Director of the University of California Agricultural Issues Center

Vince Roos - First Look 2016 Speaker

Vince Roos, Ph.D.

Former Senior Policy Aide, Consultant, Professor & Farmer

Sam Keiper - First Look 2016 Speaker

Sam Keiper

President and CEO of DFA of California

Tom Jones - First Look 2016 Speaker

Tom Jones

Senior Director of Scientific and Analytical Services

Jeremiah Szabo - First Look 2016 Speaker

Jeremiah Szabo

Vice President of Operations for Safe Food Alliance

NITOC Scholarship Fund

The NITOC Scholarship Fund is a charitable endeavor of the Institute for Principle Studies to give back to home-schooled families.  It assists speech and debate students competing in the Stoa USA league to help with traveling expenses and tournament fees for those that qualify for the National Invitational Tournament of Champions (NITOC). 

Charitable Compassion

About the Fund

It’s an honor to qualify for the National Invitational Tournament of Champions (NITOC), but it can be an expensive honor.  For some families, the cost of attending NITOC can be an insurmountable barrier to their student’s participation.  In an effort to assist these families, the Institute for Principle Studies has established a scholarship fund to make the national tournament experience a reality for as many students as possible!

Honor Society

The IPS Honor Society is an intensive worldview strengthening program designed to challenge high school and college-age students to defend their beliefs. Using “Principle Oriented Discussions” (or POD’s for short), this program is designed to lay sound foundations reinforcing them with logic, evidence and discussion.

in depth learning

Good Foundations

In the rush to accomplish “things”, our generation frequently “gets it wrong” because we skipped over the basics. The college professor who wants to change the philosophy of the student knows this weakness and exploits it.


In the classical education model, dialogue, discussion and debate are identified as the best tools for advancing students through the logic and rhetoric stages of learning.

Written Word

After instruction and dialogue, the student will produce a brief paper in which the student will synthesize their instruction, their discussion, and their conclusions.


Biblical Principles of Government DVD

Biblical Principles of Government

Institute for Principle Studies (10 weeks)

The Truth Project DVD Series

The Truth Project

Focus on the Family (13 weeks)

Poverty Cure DVD series

Poverty Cure

Acton Institute (6 weeks)

Wait Till It's Free DVD

Civics Summit on Health Care

Featuring Wait Till It’s Free (varies)

Tactics by Gregory Koukl


Gregory Koukl (varies)

Constitution Under Siege

Foundations of the U.S. Constitution

Institute for Principle Studies (varies)

Indoctrination DVD

Multiple Subject Package

Topics Include: Evolution, Education, Gun Control, & Monetary Policy (5 weeks)

Mike Winther, President of IPS

Senior Seminar with Mike Winther

Selected Readings & Round-Table Discussion (8 weeks)

Details & Enrollment

Honor Society groups generally meet once each week and start with a video presentation or lecture followed by high-level discussion designed to challenge and stretch the student. After instruction and dialogue, students use the power of the written word by producing a paper in which they synthesize their instruction, their discussion, and their conclusions.

POD modules vary in length from 4-13 weeks. There are also one-time seminars and conferences as part of the program. Although students can participate in any number of modules, attainment of honor society status requires successful completion of at least six PODs.

(Note: Participation in the “Senior Seminar” requires successful completion of at least 5 PODs.)

To enroll in the IPS Honor Society, request an application and enrollment form. There is a one-time program enrollment fee of $50 (this fee is waived for Modesto Debate students). There are also additional costs which vary, but will range from $10 – $50 per POD.


Principle Perspective

Principle Perspective is a research publication providing biblical and practical analysis on major issues affecting society. It is formulated with insight designed to provide alternative commentary and analysis on particular issues, events, or newsworthy topics not found in the media.

in depth learning

Past Issues

New Issue Coming Soon!

Constitution Under Siege

Is a one day, six hour seminar on the United States Constitution taught from a strict constructionist and original intent perspective. This seminar explains the biblical background, engrained concepts, framework, misunderstood clauses, and purpose of the U.S. Constitution.

in depth learning


Americans (even conservatives and constitutionalists) are not properly prepared to defend the Constitution today. First, many don’t know—let alone understand—what it says. They struggle to answer the person who claims that the “General Welfare” clause grants Congress nearly unlimited additional power, or have a hard time explaining the proper meaning of the “Necessary and Proper” clause or the “Interstate Commerce” clause.

Second, many don’t understand the principles upon which the Constitution was built. It is not enough to defend the original intent of the founders in the document they created; we must also be able to defend the foundations upon which the founder’s intent was based.

To remedy these issues, this seminar presents some of the important principles of good government that influenced the thinking at the Constitutional Convention. IPS President, Mike Winther, covers constitutional questions about who should be the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution, the proper view of states’ rights, and many other current issues. Participants leave walking away with the true understanding of the government America’s founding fathers intended to create.

“This is a great class for anyone who feels they are disenfranchised by the two political parties.  This material is for anyone that is eager to wake up politically and begin an honest pursuit of the Truth.”

“Most everything you’ll learn about the Constitution is cursory and often incorrect. Everyone needs to actually understand what our country is founded on. The uninformed cannot help our struggling nation. Only those with a correct and in depth understanding can make beneficial reforms.”

“I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to gain a greater understanding of the Biblical and Christian principles underlying our Constitution and liberty.”

Civics Summit

Civics Summit is a two day conference focusing on one government or economic topic, addressing it in both theory and in practical application. Featuring guest speakers from the around country, Civics Summit dissects policies and offers biblically-based, liberty-driven solutions.

in depth learning

Past Conferences

1913: The Year that Changed the Century

The income tax, direct election of senators, and the Federal Reserve. All three of these policies were passed in the year of 1913. And they changed the century.

This is government and economics as you’ve never heard it before. This conference looks back on the last 100 years, and how these three policies have changed the course of the nation - and history.

Learn about the fundamental Christian principles to civics, how they can be applied to public policy, how Christians should view government and economics, and finally, the three 1913 policies and some Biblical solutions.

Can the War on Poverty be Won?

Over 50 years ago Lyndon B. Johnson declared an unconditional war on poverty. Social security, food stamps, and a number of welfare programs were created to help the poor. While the intentions were noble, the outcome was not as desired.

We see similar patterns unfolding around the globe. Wealthy nations send monetary aid to countries suffering from starvation - yet generations continue to suffer and are often worse of after international help.

As Christians we are called to help the poor, and it is vital that we understand why these efforts are failing. By learning both economic and Biblical principles, we can find the best solutions for helping those in need.

Can American Health Care be Saved?

We know that healthcare is expensive and it affects us all on a daily basis. Despite major attempts to reduce costs, the United States has some of the highest healthcare costs in the world. The real question is: why?

A thorough study of both economics and history can give us insight into why current policies are not working and what better alternatives exist. Expert speakers make sense of our current policies, talk about the causes of problems in the healthcare industry, demonstrate ways to solve those problems, and show how biblical truth is relevant in this debate.

This conference clarifies the right approach to healthcare laws and how Christians should approach public policy.


A much needed prescription for our nation – and a tremendously valuable resource and source of equipping for instructing and shepherding our youth. I particularly appreciated the high level of intellectual rigor, and breadth and depth of material presented.

This conference was so informative, not just for teaching but also for personal life application ... Traveling 3 hours to attend this conference was well worth it. We see more clearly the vision of IPS and wholeheartedly support the mission and vision God has given [them].

It adjusted my perspective of the Constitution and my plan for teaching it. I appreciate the “principles” approach to teaching and learning, and would recommend this [conference] to colleagues without hesitation.