Born in 1934, the 15th General was the first American General.
Rader's studies at Asbury College, Asbury Theological Seminary and Southern Baptist Seminary resulted in BA, BD and MTh degrees. He later received a Doctor of Missiology degree from Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission. He served variously in pastoral, missionary, training and administrative positions in the United States and Korea.
Rader was elected General on 23 July 1994 with an unprecedented unanimous vote. He assumed command from that date.
Rader's tenure was marked by major advances in continuing the equalising of women's places in The Salvation Army. Married women officers now hold a rank in their own right, which means that qualified married women now participate through the High Council in the electing of the General.
Other landmark events were the launch of The Salvation Army's official web site in 1995 and a 1997 international youth forum in Capetown, South Africa, with more than 500 delegates. The establishment of a Spiritual Life Commission may have long-lasting effects on the worship and outreach of Salvationists in the new millennium.
Rader retired as General in 1999.