General of The Salvation Army

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General of The Salvation Army
Brian Peddle

since 3 August 2018
ResidenceLondon, United Kingdom
AppointerHigh Council
Term lengthFive years, which may be extended up to a maximum of seven years
But must be under 68 years old
Constituting instrumentParliament of the United Kingdom[1][note 1]
Inaugural holderWilliam Booth

General is the title of the international leader and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Salvation Army, a Christian denomination with extensive charitable social services that gives quasi-military rank to its ministers (who are therefore known as officers). The General is elected by the High Council of The Salvation Army and serves a term of five years, which may be extended to seven years. Brian Peddle, the current general, assumed the position in August 2018 upon the retirement of Andre Cox. The organisation's founder, William Booth, was the first and longest-serving general. There have been 21 generals as of 2018.

History and procedures for election[edit]

Usage of the term "general" began with the founder of The Salvation Army, William Booth. His wife, Catherine Booth, the organisation's co-founder, became known as the "Mother" of The Salvation Army. General Booth served as general until his death in 1912; Booth selected his son, Bramwell Booth as his successor. It was William Booth's intention to have each general choose his successor, but the Salvation Army Act of 1931 passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom requires that each general is selected by the High Council of The Salvation Army. Every general since Bramwell Booth has been selected by the High Council.[1] In accordance with the Salvation Army Act of 1931, a general must "retire" at age 68 and may serve as long as seven years.[2] The general is elected by the High Council when his predecessor retires or dies (known within the Salvation Army as being promoted to Glory). William Booth was the only general to die in office. The High Council is composed of the Chief of the Staff, all active commissioners, except the spouse of the incumbent general, and all territorial commanders. The High Council may also remove a general from office for violations of his "covenant to God", disability, or the inability to fulfill his duties, though this has never happened.

The officer of the Salvation Army who is elected general is the worldwide spiritual leader of the Salvation Army and the chief executive officer of the organization. The general has a role that is similar to the Pope's role within the Catholic Church. Since The Salvation Army maintains a hierarchical, quasi-military structure, all appointments and regulations are issued under the general's authority.

Three women have been elected General of the Salvation Army: Evangeline Booth, William Booths's daughter, in 1934, Eva Burrows in 1986, and Linda Bond in 2011.

On January 31, 2011, after 10 days of meetings which began on January 21, 2011, the 17th High Council elected Linda Bond as the 19th General of The Salvation Army. Bond was the third woman to hold the post and the fourth Canadian. This election was handled by the largest High Council in history and was especially significant due to the number of women delegates (57) outnumbering the number of men delegates (52).[3]

On 3 August 2013 the then-Commissioner Andre Cox was elected by the High Council of 2013 as the 20th General of The Salvation Army.[4] The High Council of 2018 selected Brian Peddle as Cox's successor in May 2018; he took office in August 2018. [5]

List of living retired Generals[edit]

As of December 2020, there are five retired generals living. The most recent general to die was Bramwell Tillsley in November 2019.


The general serves as the Chief executive officer (CEO) of The Salvation Army at the international level, but the organization is divided into many subunits controlled by other individuals. For instance, Commissioner David Hudson, appointed by Cox, serves as the CEO of The Salvation Army of the United States.

Generals of The Salvation Army[edit]

General Took office Left office Nationality Born Died
1st William Booth, OBE 2 July 1865 20 August 1912 United Kingdom 10 April 1829 20 August 1912
2nd Bramwell Booth, CH 21 August 1912 8 January 1929 United Kingdom 8 March 1856 16 June 1929
3rd Edward Higgins 13 February 1929 11 November 1934 United Kingdom 26 November 1864 14 December 1947
4th Evangeline Booth, OF 11 November 1934 1 November 1939 United Kingdom, United States 25 December 1865 17 July 1950
5th George Carpenter 1 November 1939 21 June 1946 Australia 20 June 1872 9 April 1948
6th Albert Orsborn 21 June 1946 1 July 1954 United Kingdom 4 September 1886 4 February 1967
7th Wilfred Kitching, CBE 1 July 1954 23 November 1963 United Kingdom 22 August 1893 15 December 1977
8th Frederick Coutts, CBE 23 November 1963 21 September 1969 United Kingdom 21 September 1899 6 February 1986
9th Erik Wickberg 21 September 1969 6 July 1974 Sweden 6 July 1904 26 April 1996
10th Clarence Wiseman, OC 6 July 1974 5 July 1977 Canada 19 June 1907 4 May 1985
11th Arnold Brown, OC 5 July 1977 14 December 1981 Canada 13 December 1913 26 June 2002
12th Jarl Wahlström 14 December 1981 9 July 1986 Finland 9 July 1918 3 December 1999
13th Eva Burrows, AC 9 July 1986 9 July 1993 Australia 15 September 1929 20 March 2015
14th Bramwell Tillsley 9 July 1993 18 May 1994 Canada 18 August 1931 2 November 2019
15th Paul Rader 23 July 1994 23 July 1999 United States 14 March 1934
16th John Gowans 23 July 1999 13 November 2002 United Kingdom 13 November 1934 8 December 2012
17th John Larsson 13 November 2002 2 April 2006 Sweden 2 April 1938
18th Shaw Clifton 2 April 2006 2 April 2011 United Kingdom 21 September 1945
19th Linda Bond 2 April 2011 13 June 2013 Canada 22 June 1946
20th Andre Cox 3 August 2013 3 August 2018 United Kingdom Switzerland 12 July 1954
21st Brian Peddle 3 August 2018 Incumbent Canada 9 August 1957


Below is a timeline of Salvation Army Generals' terms in office.

Brian PeddleAndre CoxLinda BondShaw CliftonJohn LarssonJohn GowansPaul RaderBramwell TillsleyEva BurrowsJarl WahlstromArnold Brown (General of the Salvation Army)Clarence WisemanErik WickbergFrederick CouttsWilfred KitchingAlbert OrsbornGeorge Carpenter (Salvation Army)Evangeline BoothEdward HigginsBramwell BoothWilliam Booth


  1. ^ The Salvation Army Acts of 1931 and 1980 of the UK Parliament govern the selection of a general via the High Council of The Salvation Army.


  1. ^ a b "The Salvation Army International - What is the High Council?". Retrieved Dec 2, 2020.
  2. ^ Coutts, John (1977). The Salvationists. Oxford, England: A R Mowbray & Co Ltd. p. 27. ISBN 0-264-66071-4.
  3. ^ "Linda Bond Named General-Elect". New Frontier Online. New Frontier Publications. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  4. ^ "The Salvation Army International - Commissioner André Cox elected 20th General of The Salvation Army". Retrieved Dec 2, 2020.
  5. ^ "The Salvation Army International - 2018 High Council". Retrieved Dec 2, 2020.

External links[edit]