About First Lutheran Church

Our Mission: Called to be the Heart of Christ in the Heart of the City
First Lutheran Church began its ministry in 1888 in downtown San Diego and that is where we have remained. We are the oldest Lutheran congregation in Southern CA and have become a beacon of Christ’s light to all who come through our doors or dine on our patio. We are a “huggy” and compassionate bunch that through our 129+ year history have accepted and welcomed in fellowship and an open communion table active military, veterans, homeless, gay and transgendered individuals and families.

First Lutheran has been a Reconciling in Christ (RIC) congregation since 1989, welcoming all people regardless of race, ethnic background, or sexual orientation.

To become a Lutheran, one need only be baptized and receive instruction in the Christian faith. First Lutheran offers membership classes several times a year and if you are not baptized – we have a passion for Baptism. It is at our Baptismal pool with flowing living water that we begin our life in the church and it is from here, at the end of life, where we are entrusted to the baptismal promises of eternal life. If you are interested, please contact the church office.

Lutheran Religion

The Lutheran Church is the oldest Protestant Christian tradition, dating back to the Protestant Reformation in 1517 and the challenge from Augustinian Monk Martin Luther of the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. Luther challenged the Catholic Church to be more consistent with Biblical teachings. This debate escalated to the extent that Luther himself and his followers split from the Catholic Church and became known as Lutherans. Lutheranism spread from Germany to most countries across the globe and has become one of the largest Protestant denominations.

Lutheran teachings are:
sola scriptura (the Bible is our most important guide, the only true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged)
sola gratia (justification by the grace of God alone)
sola fide (salvation through faith in Christ alone)

Luther RoseLuther Rose

The Luther Rose is easily the most recognized symbol for Lutheranism.  Martin Luther personally oversaw the creation of this coat-of-arms as an expression of his theology and faith.

Honorable, kind, dear Sir and Friend!


Grace and Peace in Christ!


Since you ask whether my seal has come out correctly, I shall answer most amiably and tell you of those thoughts which now come to my mind about my seal as a symbol of my theology.  There is first to be a cross, black, and placed in a heart, which should be of its natural color (red), to put me in mind that faith in Christ crucified saved us. For if one believes from the heart, he will be justified. [“For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.”  –Romans 10:10] Even though it is a black cross, which mortifies and which also should hurt us, yet it leaves the heart in its natural color and does not ruin nature…that is, the cross does not kill, but keeps man alive. For the just shall live by faith, by faith in the Savior. [“This Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight.  This is accomplished from start to finish by faith.  As the Scriptures say, ‘It is through faith that a righteous person has life.'”  –Romans 1:17]


Such a heart is to be in the midst of a white rose, to symbolize that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace.  In a word, it places the believer into a white joyful rose, for this faith does not give peace and joy as the world gives. [“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.”  –John 14:27] Therefore, the rose is to be white, not red, for white is the color of the spirits and of all angels.  [“..an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it.  His face shone like lightening, and his clothing was as white as snow.” –Matthew 28:2b-3  and  “She saw two white-robed angels sitting at the head and foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying.”  –John 20:12]


This rose, moreover, is fixed in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in the Spirit and in faith is a beginning of the future heavenly joy.  It is already a part of faith, and is grasped through hope, even though not yet manifest.


And around this field is a golden ring, to signify that such bliss in heaven is endless, and more precious than all joys and goods, just as gold is the most valuable and precious metal.


May Christ, our dear Lord, be with your spirit until the life to come.  Amen.”