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What Does "Stoa" Mean?

Architecture Meets Forensics:

Literally Speaking 

In the classical world, oratory, logic, and debate reached a level of perfection never before seen in history. This development first found its nexus in ancient Athens where people would gather at public buildings to listen to politicians, philosophers, and poets.  Greece’s Mediterranean climate rendered the interiors of these buildings unsuitable for crowds much of the year.  Architects therefore designed the Stoa (pl. stoae), the long covered porches fronting or surrounding buildings, often with a double colonnade, that became the symbolic feature of classical Greek architecture.  Here, in a shaded but well-lit and well-ventilated space, many people could gather to conduct business or test new or competing ideas. 

It was only natural the Areopagus should meet in the Athenian marketplace (the agora) where it met at the Royal Porch (Stoa Basileios). The Areopagus, the most venerable institution in Athens, had special jurisdiction in matters of morals and religion.  This was the institution before which the Apostle Paul testified when he gave his famous speech in Acts 17 where he challenged the beliefs of the Epicureans and Stoics. The status of the Areopagus assured the Stoa Basileios would become a prime venue for speakers of various stripes to propound on issues of philosophy and religion.  In the same way that stoae existed to provide a place for public speaking, debate and the exercise of rhetorical skills, Stoa, the National Christian Homeschool Speech and Debate organization exists to provide locally-organized opportunities for friendly forensics competition in public speaking and debate for privately educated Christian homeschooled youth aged 12 to 18.  


Christian Faith and Forensics:  All to the glory of God

The Stoa Board of Directors adopted Romans 11:36 as the theme Bible verse for Stoa. 

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (NASB) 

Not only is this verse a benediction [L to speak well], it encompasses the scope and breadth Stoa’s forensics-based mission.  Stoa believes human speech, the ability to communicate with the spoken word, is “from” God and that it is only “through” the triune God that we can speak with grace, truth and beauty. Stoa believes all things, only one of which is speech, are “to” God or are directed to His purposes. Stoa emphatically stands for these key Biblical principles as it helps to develop young people into winsome and God-honoring orators in all walks of life. In the broad sense, Stoa embodies an entire culture of thought, public discourse, apologetics, and intellectual inquiry. emblematic of the Western Civilization and representative of the many goals we are reaching for in our children as we strive to bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord.