If the natural man has a free will to believe the gospel, then why does he need grace at all? If his will is naturally free then it would do away with the need for grace altogether ... he could simply come to Jesus Christ on his own, apart from grace. But the Bible teaches that it is precisely because man is in bondage to sin (2 Tim. 2:26; 1 Cor 2:14) that he needs Christ to set him free (John 8:34, 36) that he might indeed come to faith in Jesus (John 6:63, 65).
But lest anyone think the above is an attack on Arminianism, they would assume too much. It is meant to demonstrate the biblical truth that the natural man (the man without the Spirit) does not have a free will -- a slave to sin and corruption, something both Calvinists and Arminians agree upon. This statement is more directed toward the many semi-pelagian Christians out there who even deny the need for an Arminian-type prevenient grace - they actually exist in America in much greater numbers than Classic Arminians and thus the urgency to proclaim this message. I once had a discussion with Roger Olson (a Classic Arminian) a professor at Baylor who said he had many students who thought he was a closet Calvinist because of his belief in prevenient grace. So I propose that we stop debating about whether man has a free will or not. He doesn't and that has been established by the above. The debate is really more about what the Bible has to say about the nature and extent of God's regenerating/saving grace.
As much as they think it gets them off the hook, Arminnian prevenient grace really does not help Arminians escape this issue of free will and the ability of the natural man. Prevenient grace hides behind a mask in order to avoid the questions that dig a little deeper. For starters, prevenient grace elicits two major questions: