DURHAM, NC—In what scholars are hailing as a landmark finding that reshapes their understanding of early Christianity, a newly discovered first-century text made public Friday by researchers at the Duke School of Divinity revealed that God first sent Jesus Christ to save elk as practice. “This ancient document clearly explains how, a number of years before He sent Jesus to save humanity, God sent His son down to earth for a dry run with elk so that Jesus could hone his skills at preaching compassion and teaching about God’s eternal kingdom,” said theology professor Paul Charow, adding that passages in the text reveal that God dispatched Jesus to western Canada, where he ministered among groups of elk using early versions of several parables, miraculously fed an entire herd from the bark of a single tree, and learned how to comfort and heal the sick and infirm members of the antlered ruminant species. “Though Jesus achieved only mixed results in his practice run with elk, it appears the exercise was vital in allowing him to identify problems in his methodology that he ironed out before returning as the savior of humankind. For example, while he wasn’t able to convince any elk to become his disciples and go out to spread the word of God, he did succeed in his primary goal of granting elk everlasting life when he was eventually trampled to death for their sins.” Charow noted that the text further suggests Jesus will one day return to earth to judge the living and the dead elk as a warmup for the actual End Times.